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Sri Lanka – China FTA: The Jewel in the Crown

A Results – Oriented Visit


President Xi’s visit to Sri Lanka delivered an array of concrete outcomes across a wide range of activities. A total of 27 agreements were signed in important areas.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 14:47

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Education: Is it a Public Good? A Challenge to Orthodoxy.

Sri Lanka has been well known for its impressive record in social development for several decades. The introduction of free education from independence has been a major part of this narrative. This has enabled Sri Lanka to attain very high enrollment rates in primary and secondary education. Female participation rates in formal education have been particularly impressive. However, the quality of learning outcomes has been a serious problem which has preoccupied successive governments since the 1971 insurrection. Despite this, the record of remedial action has been very mixed at best. Improving the quality of education has hitherto been an intractable challenge. Sri Lanka’s performance, when benchmarked against the successful countries of East and South East Asia, is disappointing. The present government is attaching the highest priority to reforming the education system to strengthen the employability of students in a modernizing economy. Efforts are being made to improve Maths, Science and English education; as well as training and skills development. The tertiary sector is being opened up to private universities, including foreign universities. Particular emphasis is being placed on Engineering and IT. It is timely, therefore, to examine some of the fundamental premises determining educational outcomes in order to ensure that the current initiatives achieve their objectives. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 10:16

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Powering the Energy Sector: Energizing the Power Sector

Sri Lankan farmers, small and medium enterprises, service providers, big businesses and households have been afflicted by one of the highest electricity tariffs in the world and uncompetitive fuel costs for many years. This has been undermining the economy’s competitiveness thereby discouraging investment and employment generation. The enormous losses incurred by the CEB and CPC have added to the debt burden imposed on the current and future generations of Sri Lankans.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 09:49

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Modi’s Budget To-Day From Populism to growth

The Indian Budget Speech, to be delivered by Arun Jaitley today, is likely to be the most reform-oriented since Dr. Manmohan Singh’s much heralded effort in 1991. India’s growth rate has halved to 4.5% last year. Policy paralysis has reduced confidence among both domestic and foreign investors. Bureaucratic inertia had stalled the pipeline of large infrastructure projects. The budget deficit had increased to unsustainable levels and inflation was persistently high leading to elevated interest rates that stifled economic activities. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 July 2014 13:30

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Dramatic Changes in the Global Economic Landscape


Next Generation of Reforms in Sri Lanka

The World Bank has just published the Report from its International Comparison Program (ICP). It confirms a number of aspects of the conventional wisdom regarding the trends that have emerged in recent years while challenging others.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 June 2014 11:05

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Sri Lanka’s Development Prospects: How to Overcome the Emerging Human Resource Bottleneck

Prospects of a Bright Future


Sri Lanka has potentially extremely favourable medium-term prospects. In addition, macroeconomic conditions are likely to be more benign in the short-term, with 2014 being better than last year, provided the US Federal Reserve’s tapering program does not cause severe turbulence in emerging and frontier markets. However, there are challenges that need to be addressed if Sri Lanka is to realize its full potential. It is arguable that the lack of the necessary human resources will be the most significant binding constraint that holds back the country’s development. At present, the human resources necessary to support the government’s five-hubs + tourism strategy are not available within the country.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 10:14

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Towards Resilient and Stable Financial Institutions

Learning from History and the World.


Sri Lanka’s financial sector has experienced significant developments since partial liberalization in the post-77 era. To move from a highly protected environment to a liberalized economy may have required some shock treatment such as the opening of the financial sector. However, unfortunately, the lack of a clear strategy and ad hoc approach to regulation has led to the emergence of a plethora of banking and non-banking financial institutions servicing a limited segment of the population and geographical areas of the island. In realizing that the financial system is the lifeblood of an economy the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has drawn a roadmap for more a efficient and competitive financial system in the country.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:19

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Grasping Massive Opportunity: No Place for Complacency.

The Challenge: Macroeconomic Stability and Strategic Action

There has been an improvement in macroeconomic conditions since the introduction of the stabilization measures introduced in Feb/March 2012. Inflation has abated and the balance of payments has improved.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 January 2014 14:08

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CHOGM 2013 Outcomes


The recently concluded Commonwealth Summit issued four statements reflecting the outcomes of their deliberations: the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable, Inclusive and Equitable Development; the Kotte Statement on International Trade and Investment; the CHOGM 2013 Communiqué; and the Magampura Commitment to Young People.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:32

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Is India on the verge of a 1991- style crisis?

Is India on the verge of a 1991- style crisis?

Imminent crisis?

Some commentators have raised the prospect of India facing a repeat of the balance of payments crisis that shook the country in 1991. Fears have been expressed that after years of 8% - 9% expansion, growth could fall to as low as 3% - it was 4.4% in 2Q 2013.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 September 2013 09:56

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Is there Scope for further Monetary Policy Relaxation to Boost Growth?

Pathfinder Economic Alert

Is there Scope for further Monetary Policy Relaxation to Boost Growth?

Overheating to Cooling-off

The growth momentum in the economy has slowed sharply, since 3Q 2012. As mentioned in previous Pathfinder Foundation (PF) articles, this is reflected in reduced government revenue, imports, electricity sales and company profits.

Last Updated on Monday, 26 August 2013 10:15

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Economic Alerts Introduction


As of October 2010, the PF has been issuing monthly Economic Alerts which have sought to highlight emerging economic challenges & opportunities. These Economic Alerts have gained wide publicity in print and electronic media.

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