Sri Lanka’s Economic Outlook Highlighted at ADB-ATTN Development Forum 2017
20 – 21 September 2017
Cinnamon Grand, Colombo
IPS Acting Executive Director, Dr. Dushni Weerakoon, recently highlighted the importance of seeking efficient financing mechanisms to fund urbanization projects in Asia and the Pacific, such as the much-touted Megapolis project in Sri Lanka, estimated to cost around US$ 40 billion. She also noted that it was vital to use smarter resources for sustainable urbanization – a challenge for the rapidly growing cities in the region.
She made these remarks at the fifth ADB-ATTN Development Forum 2017, held in Colombo on 20 – 21 September 2017. The Forum, which saw the participation of more than 25 countries, was co-organized by the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and the IPS. The theme of the Forum was ‘Financing for Sustainable Urbanization in Asia and the Pacific.’
Delivering the keynote address at the Forum, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development said that estimated that 53% of the world population will be urbanized by 2025. As a means of financing this rapid urbanization, he noted that it is imperative that the government integrates the private sector with public-private partnerships.
Meanwhile, speaking on Sri Lanka’s economic outlook, IPS Research Officer, Kithmina Hewage, noted that the government needs to be more responsible in its economic policies and focused on the urgent need for an outward oriented growth strategy, as it has to balance fiscal stabilization along with the need to catalyze growth.
He further noted that, structural constrains were holding Sri Lanka back in terms of attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and promoting exports. Sri Lanka has failed to link in to global value chains due to protectionist economic policies that led to a complex para-tariff structure that has increased the cost of production in the country. As a result, the country is stuck in the labor intensive, low-skilled manufacturing export sector with very little diversification over the past twenty years.
IPS Research Fellow, Bilesha Weeraratne, also presented during the Forum on the topic ‘Sustainable Financing for Urban Solid Waste Disposal Services in Sri Lanka.’