Sri Lanka has enjoyed strong growth rates in recent years, attributed to good economic performance in the agriculture and services sectors. It has a relatively open economy with exports of goods and services accounting for 31.6 % of GDP in 2006. Poverty has decreased but remains a concern, as in the case of other countries of the South Asia region.
The main economic sectors of the country are: tourism, tea, apparel or ready-made garments, textiles, rice and other agricultural produce.
Regarding industrial development issues, the manufacturing sector remains relatively small, although the share of manufacturing value added (MVA) in GDP is estimated to have increased slightly. Textile, garments and tobacco products are the most important sectors, each accounting for a share of more than 15 % of the country’s industrial production. In terms of employment, the textiles and the garment industry are the two key sectors, accounting for almost half of employment in the country’s manufacturing sector. Clothing is also the most important exports, contributing more than 75 % of the country’s export value.
The key feature of UNIDO cooperation in Sri Lanka is the Integrated Programme (IP) 2005-2008. Under the Programme, three important projects are currently under way :
- Support for sustainable livelihood recovery among the conflict-affected population in the north and eastern regions through improved agricultural productivity and community-based entrepreneurship.
- Establishing sustainable, economical and secure local resource based renewable energy backed community development centres with ICTs for post-conflict and remote rural areas of Sri Lanka.
- Support for sustainable livelihood recovery among the conflict-affected people in the north and eastern regions.