Sri Lanka

2018. Sri Lanka Growth Diagnostic, Growth Lab at Harvard's Center for International Development.Abstract

Throughout 2016, CID conducted a growth diagnostic analysis for Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka, led by the Prime Minister’s Policy Development Office (PDO), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). This presentation report aggregates collaborative quantitative and qualitative analysis undertaken by the research team. This analysis was originally provided to the Government of Sri Lanka in April 2017 in order to make available a record of the detailed technical work and CID’s interpretations of the evidence. A written executive summary is provided here as a complement to the detailed presentation report. Both the report and the executive summary are structured as follows. First, the analysis identifies Sri Lanka’s growth problem. It then presents evidence from diagnostic tests to identify what constraints are most responsible for this problem. Finally, it provides a summary of what constraints CID interprets as most binding and suggests a “growth syndrome” that underlies the set of binding constraints. 

In brief, this growth diagnostic analysis shows that economic growth in Sri Lanka is constrained by the weak growth of exports, particularly from new sectors. Compared to other countries in the region, Sri Lanka has seen virtually no diversification of exports over the last 25 years, especially in manufactured goods linked through FDI-driven, global value chains. We found several key causes behind this lack of diversified exports and FDI: Sri Lanka’s ineffective land-use governance, underdeveloped industrial and transportation infrastructure, and a very high level of policy uncertainty, particularly in tax and trade policy. We believe that these issues trace back to an underlying problem of severe fragmentation in governance, with a critical lack of coordination between ministries and agencies with overlapping responsibilities and decision-making authority.

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My Summer Internship with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka

Author: Haiyang Zhang, HKS MPA/ID student

In a poetic reference, Sri Lanka is often described as “a teardrop of the Indian Ocean.” The island country is endowed with some of the world’s most scenic landscapes, a diverse culture, and a documented history that spans across three millennia. For a country that recently emerged from a 26-year-long civil war, Sri Lanka faces the challenge for transforming its short-lived “peace dividend" into sustainable growth. 

Following the end of the civil war in 2009 and the presidential election in 2015, Sri Lanka...

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Harvard economist calls for tariff reforms to increase exports

February 9, 2018

Robert Lawrence/Sri Lanka project - Daily FT

Making a compelling case against tariff regimes, renowned Harvard economist Dr. Robert Lawrence yesterday called for a simpler system with significantly lower tariffs in order to increase Sri Lanka’s exports.

Delivering a lecture on protectionism organised by the Advocata Institute in Colombo, Prof. Lawrence, who is the Faculty Chair of the Practice of Trade Policy program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, said that imposing tariffs is the wrong way to raise revenue, highlighting the need for tax reforms with...

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Charting a path towards Lanka’s durable success

March 13, 2017

Ricardo Hausmann for Daily News

It is not just because I am from Venezuela that I see Sri Lanka with admiration and envy. The island has made more progress in human development than any other in South Asia. It has reduced poverty in a pretty dramatic way. It has many reasons to be proud of its achievements. But anything that is worth doing, is worth doing better. The Center for International Development at Harvard University is collaborating with the Government of Sri Lanka to work on a strategy to make progress faster, more sustainable and more inclusive.

...

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Sri Lanka to boost economic diplomacy with Harvard University

March 7, 2017

EconomyNext

Sri Lanka's government is boosting its economic diplomacy capacity with Harvard University which will help boost investments and exports, Deputy Finance Minister Harsha de Silva said.

"Traditional diplomacy was to bring peace," Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said. "Economic diplomacy is to bring prosperity."

Sri Lanka had a presence in over 60 countries spending about 9 billion rupees a year, de Silva said.

"Sri Lanka is running a race, where we are behind Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar," he said. "We have some good runners, we need a strategy. We have got the best coaches in the world to coach our runners."... Read more about Sri Lanka to boost economic diplomacy with Harvard University

Harvard University to conduct online Economic Diplomacy course for officials of Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry and Commerce Department

March 7, 2017

ColomboPage, Sri Lanka Internet Newspaper

 As part of its economic diplomacy role, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has undertaken a unique initiative to design and implement an online Economic Diplomacy Course catering to Sri Lanka's specific economic needs and challenges.

This Course is a result of the Foreign Ministry's collaboration with the Department of Commerce and Harvard University, one of the most prestigious Universities in the world.

The ceremonial launching of the Course was held today, 7th March 2017 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presided over by the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Harsha de Silva. Also participating at the event were Mrs. Sonali Wijeratne, Director General, Department of Commerce; Professor Matt Andrews, Senior Lecturer, Harvard University Center for International Development (HCID), invited guests and officials selected to take part in the Course.

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Sri Lanka needs economic knowhow

January 11, 2017

Ricardo Hausmann, Growth Lab research - Daily News

Professor Ricardo Hausmann of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government delivered a lecture entitled “Increasing your chances of success while leaving your comfort zone: adapting Sri Lanka’s growth model to new constraints,” yesterday at BMICH.

Hausmann, who runs the Kennedy School’s Center for International Development, and his team have been studying Sri Lanka’s economy for the past year. His lecture spanned over two hours and covered the country’s current economic shortcomings and its paths to increased...

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