Sri Lanka inequality on the rise despite growth: UNDP

Nov 20, 2007 (LBO) – Inequality is on the rise in Sri Lanka despite the island making much progress in economic development, an international expert said. Overall progress in Sri Lanka has been concentrated in the western province and hides wide regional income disparities, said Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator, Sri Lanka.

There were pockets of acute poverty in the central and southern provinces, he told a news conference held Monday to present the progress report on Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Despite high economic growth, inequality is on the rise in Sri Lanka, like elsewhere,” Buhne said.

He quoted the budget speech of President Mahinda Rajapakse which said that development so far had benefited only limited areas.

“Economic growth is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for development,” Buhne said discussing the progress of countries in the region in meeting their MDG goals.

Two Countries

Sri Lanka has rapidly liberalized the Western Province which has seen high growth through service sector and industrial growth as it opened to the world and became more ‘globalize