Transitional Challenges as a Middle-income Country and Challenges ahead; The Sri Lankan Experience |

Transitional Challenges as a Middle-income Country and Challenges ahead; The Sri Lankan Experience


Sri Lanka has witnessed diverse experiences in its transition from a low income to a middle income economy, over last several decades. In the early phase of post independence, despite the remarkable progress in human resource development comparable with upper middle income countries, the country was not fortunate to achieve an overall economic progress parallel to middle income country standards due to economic policies that undermined country’s comparative advantage in the region. Re-opening the economy in 1977 though made a kick start, its steam exhausted owing to ill conceived sequencing of reforms (opening the economy for external competition without corresponding deregulation of the domestic economy and social sectors), being insensitive to macroeconomic fundamentals (adopting a high fiscal monetary stimulus), delayed reforms in state owned enterprises and getting trapped with a costly internal terrorist led conflicts that made the transition suboptimal. Although economic resilience was sustained through market orientation, deregulation and private sector development, the country remained to be a lagging economy in the region in its overall performance. By 2005 the country demonstrated signs of fatigue of a conflict-trapped nation, saddled with - depleted and lagging infrastructure that demanded long term investments, a worsening business outlook, post tsunami challenges and increasing vulnerabilities to climate change, lagging rural development and agriculture, macroeconomic imbalance with domestic price instability and external imbalances. A home grown vision towards new Sri Lanka, stemming from the lessons learnt was adopted by the Government elected in 2005 to create an enabling environment for a rapid development.

Sri Lanka since 2005, has maintained an annual average economic growth rate of 7 percent along with a gradual decline of inflation to a mid single digit level. The country has made progress in the reduction of the poverty head count as well as unemployment. The policy strategy for the medium term is to raise economic growth in excess of 8 percent along with high investments, skills development, food security and a transformation towards export oriented production and services.


Dr P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury Secretary, Ministry of Finance & Planning; Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development, Sri Lanka

Thursday, 20 February 2014
12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Seminar Room 3-5,
Manasseh Meyer,
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,
469C Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 259772

Seats are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Kindly register your interest in attending here.

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