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Sri Lanka: Development Effectiveness Brief

Publication | December 2015
Sri Lanka: Development Effectiveness Brief

ADB continues to support Sri Lanka in new areas such as private sector development, knowledge solutions, and development of advanced infrastructure as the country transforms into an upper-middle-income country.

Sri Lanka has emerged in recent years as one of the most dynamic countries in South Asia. With a rich cultural heritage, an increasingly sophisticated work force, and a strategic location that links Asia to Europe, the country is well positioned for strong economic growth for years to come. Sri Lanka has moved beyond being a place to find low-cost labor to manufacture goods for export. The country achieved middle-income status in the mid-2000s and could become an upper middle-income country in a few years. This steady march out of poverty puts Sri Lanka in an enviable position, but also creates challenges for the country. Sri Lanka can no longer compete as effectively with low-cost labor countries. Therefore, it must develop expertise, products, and services, and increase the productivity of workers to compete with the world’s innovators in high-income countries.

ADB and Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka became a founding member of ADB in 1966 and has since received $6.9 billion in loans, $358 million in grants, and $130 million in technical assistance (as of 31 December 2015). Early assistance focused on agriculture then shifted to transport, energy, water supply, urban development, and education as the economy progressed. ADB has consistently promoted gender equality and social inclusion in development, and environmental safeguards and governance form part of all ADB-supported projects and programs in Sri Lanka.


  • Sri Lanka Development Indicators
  • Sri Lanka and ADB: Remarkable Gains
  • ADB’s Contribution to Development and Poverty Reduction
  • Improving Operational Effectiveness and Services
  • Future Challenges and Goals