Assessing Sri Lanka’s economic transformation pathways, 1977-2019

Ganeshan Wignaraja and Angela Hüttemann, October 2020


This study analyses Sri Lanka’s transformation pathways, particularly the country’s shift from an agriculture-based society to a more industrial and services-based economy. It undertakes a granular exploration of economic transformation at a sectoral level in Sri Lanka from the late 1970s to 2019. It focuses on the garments sector within the industrial sector, and two services sectors – the tourism sector and the information and communications technology/business process management (ICT/BPM) sector.

The study adopts a common approach to analysing the transformation pathways of each sector over time by considering sectoral performance (including value addition, employment and exports), key enabling factors, policies and challenges. By looking at the long-term dynamics of specific sectors, it contributes to the literature on economic transformation in Sri Lanka.


Photo: Economic transformation in Sri Lanka.  Chamindu Perera/ Unsplash. Licence: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)