Sri Lanka: Economy

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at
Fri Feb 2 16:18:09 MST 2001

AltaVista World: Regions

Countries of the World

Sri Lanka

At independence in 1948, plantations growing tea, rubber, or coconuts and
paddies growing rice for subsistence dominated Sri Lanka's economy, and, as
late as 1970, plantation crops accounted for 93% of exports. In 1977,
Colombo abandoned statist economic policies and its import substitution
trade policy for market-oriented policies and export-oriented trade. Sri
Lanka's most dynamic industries now are food processing, textiles and
apparel, food and beverages, telecommunications, and insurance and banking.
By 1996 plantation crops made up only 20% of exports, while textiles and
garments accounted for 63%. GDP grew at an annual average rate of 5.5%
throughout the 1990s until a drought and a deteriorating security situation
lowered growth to 3.8% in 1996. The economy rebounded in second half 1996,
however, and continued to perform well in 1997 with growth of 6.4% and in
1998 with growth of 5.0%. Sustained economic growth, coupled with population
growth of only 1.2% a year, has pushed Sri Lanka from the ranks of the
poorest countries in the world up to the threshold of the middle income
countries. For the next round of reforms, the central bank of Sri Lanka
recommends that Colombo expand market mechanisms in nonplantation
agriculture, dismantle the government's monopoly on wheat imports, and
promote more competition in the financial sector. A continuing cloud over
the economy is the fighting between the Sinhalese and the minority Tamils,
which has cost 50,000 lives in the past 14 years.
Gross Domestic Product
Real GDP in Sri Lanka increased by 22.3% between 1994 and 1998, an average
annual compound growth rate of 5.2%, while the population increased by 5.0%,
which was an annual compound growth rate of 1.2%. This resulted in an
increase in real GDP per capita from $2,874 to $3,354 over the same period.
Sri Lanka
Macroeconomic Activity
Real GDP Per Capita
 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Real GDP
(Millions of 1990 $US)39,489  40,990  43,633  45,684  47,512
Total Population
(Millions-Mid Year Average)18.304 18.510 18.699 18.885 19.065
Real GDP Per Capita
(1990$US Per Capita)2,157 2,214 2,334 2,419 2,492
Sources:US CIA World Factbook, IMF World Outlook,
US Census Bureau International Data Base,
UN Statistical Yearbook, CountryWatch Calculations

Global Ranking
Gross Domestic Product
(Millions of 1990$)
Population (Millions)
GDP Per Capita
Country Rank1999
GDPRank 1999
GDP Per Capita
Sri Lanka 62  47,512 50 19.0 65  115  2,492

More information about the Marxism mailing list