Sri Lanka needs better transport, credit access to benefit from trade: study

June 04, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs to improve access to markets
through better transport infrastructure and access to credit to take
advantage of opportunities presented by trade, a new study on the
trade-poverty nexus in the island says. A major feature of the trade-poverty nexus in the island has been the
uneven growth between regions, according to the study by researchers
at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

The capital Colombo and the surrounding western province developed
rapidly due in part to access to international markets through the
Colombo port and airport, it says.

Poverty in the western province has fallen sharply, while more rural
regions have not had as much success in reducing poverty.

Past policy measures like encouraging garment factories to shift to
rural areas by giving tax benefits have had only limited success with
72 percent of factories still being based in the western province.

“This example stresses the importance of improving access to
international markets in order to benefit from trade,” says the study,
presented at an international conference on the trade-poverty nexus in
South Asia organized by the IPS and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Colombo
last week.

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