Sri Lanka could grow 20-pct in long-run by closing gender gap: WB Vice President

Feb 20, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka specifically could grow its economy by as much as 20 percent in the long-run by closing the gender gap in the workforce, emphasized World Bank Vice President for South Asia Region Hartwig Schafer quoting data from an IMF study.

Evidence suggests that Sri Lankan women are excelling in higher education and outlive men, but they are not part of the workforce. This comes at great cost to economic growth.

“Getting more women into jobs is not only a development imperative, but there’s also a strong business case,” said Schafer highlighting Sri Lanka’s achievements in human capital development and economic growth amidst challenges and risks.

“Sri Lanka specifically could grow its economy by as much as 20 percent in the long-run by closing the gender gap in the workforce.”

Schafer concluded his three-day visit to Sri Lanka recently with a commitment to work with public and private sectors to create the space for women to access work and remain at work.

During meetings with the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the Central Bank Governor, Schafer discussed the Government’s reform agenda.

Schafer congratulated the Government’s achievements in reforms and moving up to the top 100 rank in the Doing Business index.

Inland Revenue Act, the fuel pricing formula, national audit act and the active liability management act were among the noteworthy reform achievements.

They also discussed the remaining challenges of stabilizing the financial system, risk management and building fiscal resilience.

He also interacted with community groups, project officials, private sector, development partners, civil society groups and completed a field visit to learn about a planned project to mitigate flood risk in Colombo.