Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Sri Lanka’s Economy Shows Signs of Stabilization, but Poverty to Remain Elevated

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Sri Lanka’s economy is projected to see moderate growth of 2.2% in 2024, showing signs of stabilization, following the severe economic downturn of 2022. But, the country still faces elevated poverty levels, income inequality, and labor market concerns, says the World Bank’s latest bi-annual update.

Released today, the Sri Lanka Development Update, Bridge to Recovery, highlights that Sri Lanka saw declining inflation, higher revenues on the back of the implementation of new fiscal policies, and a current account surplus for the first time in nearly five decades, buoyed by increased remittances and a rebound in tourism.

However, poverty rates continued to rise for the fourth year in a row, with an estimated 25.9% of Sri Lankans living below the poverty line in 2023. Labor force participation has also seen a decline, particularly among women and in urban areas, exacerbated by the closure of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Households are grappling with multiple pressures from high prices, income losses, and under employment. This has led to households taking on debt to meet food requirements and maintain spending on health and education.

“Sri Lanka’s economy is on the road to recovery, but sustained efforts to mitigate the impact of the economic crisis on the poor and vulnerable are critical, alongside a continuation of the path of robust and credible structural reforms,” emphasized Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “This involves a two-pronged strategy: first, to maintain reforms that contribute to macroeconomic stability and second, to accelerate reforms to stimulate private investment and capital inflows, which are crucial for economic growth and poverty reduction.”|read more 

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