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Sri Lanka's economic development is 'geographically uneven' says World Bank

Sri Lanka's economic development across the provinces is "geographically uneven", the World Bank said in its 'Vision 2025: Sri Lanka's path to prosperity' document, highlighting the North-East as an "underserved community and region". 

"Vision 2025 pinpoints how unequal economic development across provinces has contributed to large income disparities in Sri Lanka. Among a slew of programs focused on underserved communities and regions is the World Bank-supported North East Local Services Improvement Project, which helped improve infrastructure and the delivery of public services in isolated communities in the North and East Provinces."

"Now completed, this project paved the way for the Local Development Support Project, which aims to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable populations and make local governance more efficient and accountable to citizens."

"Other similar priorities comprise an expanding portfolio on infrastructure, including urban development, roads, flood protection and water supply. In this context, the Government’s commitment to supporting Private Public Partnerships (PPPs) to reduce reliance of public funds for infrastructure will require greater private sector financing. This is central to the World Bank’s strategy to maximize finance for development through the participation of the private sector."

The World Bank also criticised the country's "archaic land policy", called for urgent reform. 

Pointing to the country's inward looking trade policy, the World Bank said "with a domestic market of only 20 million consumers with a modest per capita income, Sri Lanka needs to look beyond its borders and increase its global competitiveness to sustain high and long-term growth."