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Poverty & Hunger

Democratic Socialist Republic of

Sri Lanka

In the early years of the 21st Century

Description: Description: SriLanka

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Sri Lanka in the early years of the 21st Century.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of poverty are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the relationship between distribution of labor and per-capita GDP, for example.  Perhaps your paper could focus on life expectancy or infant mortality.  Other factors of interest might be unemployment, literacy, access to basic services, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include some of the possible outgrowths of poverty such as Human Trafficking, Street Children, or even Prostitution.  There is a lot to the subject of Poverty.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

*** ARCHIVES ***

The World Factbook – Sri Lanka

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency CIA

[accessed 17 November 2020]

World Factbook website has moved to --->

[accessed 10 January 2021]

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW - is attempting to sustain economic growth while maintaining macroeconomic stability under the IMF program it began in 2016.

GDP - per capita (PPP): $12,900 (2017 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 27%

industry: 26%

services: 47% (31 Dec 2016)

Unemployment rate: 4.4% (2017 est.)

Population below poverty line: 6.7% (2012 est.)

Maternal mortality rate: 36 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total: 7.8 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.5 years

Drinking water source: improved: total: 92.6% of population

Physicians density: 0.93 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access: improved: total: 98.9% of population

Electricity access: electrification - total population: 95.6% (2016)

The Borgen Project – Sri Lanka

[accessed 9 March 2021]

The Borgen Project works with U.S. leaders to utilize the United States’ platform behind efforts toward improving living conditions for the world’s poor.  It is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.  It believes that leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. From ending segregation to providing women with the right to vote, nearly every wrong ever righted in history was achieved through advocacy. The Borgen Project addresses the big picture, operating at the political level advancing policies and programs that improve living conditions for those living on less than $1 per day.

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Hunger and starvation amidst a multiplicity of economic problems

The Sunday Times - Sri Lnaka, 27 June 2021

[accessed 27 June 2021]

RECAPITULATION -- Undoubtedly the severest economic impact of COVID, globally and on Sri Lanka, is the deprivation of employment and incomes of a large proportion of the population. This has been much more in less developed countries owing to the larger number that has been affected and their incidence of poverty is higher, their greater dependence  on global trade, the nature and structure of employment and the lesser capacity of governments to effectively intervene with adequate relief measures. As a result there has been a considerable increase in poverty and starvation. This has been the case in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s weak public finances and perilous state of external finances severely limits the capacity of the Government to adopt adequate measures to alleviate poverty, provide income support and prevent starvation.

In addition, inappropriate policies and ineffective administration have depressed incomes and aggravated poverty and starvation. The relief measures have been grossly inadequate to cope with the severity of the problem. The fragile public finances and perilous foreign reserves limits the capacity to expend money on relief measures.

The World Bank in Sri Lanka

[accessed 21 April 2021]

Sri Lanka is a lower-middle-income country with a GDP per capita of USD 3,852 (2019) and a total population of 21.8 million. With over six decades of partnership with Sri Lanka, World Bank Group continues to support Sri Lanka’s transition to a more competitive, inclusive, and resilient country.

Looking back a few years …

Advameg, Inc., Encyclopedia of the Nations

[accessed 10 January 2021]

Since 1977, the Sri Lankan economy, once dominated by agricultural, has experienced strong growth in its industrial and services sectors.

Economic expansion has been led by manufactures, particularly textiles and apparel, which is also the leading net earner of foreign exchange.

In 1983, countrywide riots that left nearly 400 dead and 79,000 homeless signaled the beginning of what proved to be 19 years of separatist violence by the Tamil Tigers. In the latter half of the 1980s, the national economy was faced with grave challenges: escalating defense expenditures to combat the insurgency; recurrent drought; depressed world prices for major export crops, tea and coconut-based goods; and stagnant government revenues. These conditions produced a resurgence of inflation, increasing unemployment, critical current account deficits and stagnating economic growth.

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