News ≫ Harvard University’s ‘CID’ to diagnose Sri Lanka’s economic growth ills

Harvard University’s ‘CID’ to diagnose Sri Lanka’s economic growth ills

Jun 20, 2016
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By Bandula Sirimanna

The deeply-indebted Sri Lankan government has been forced to seek foreign expertise to identify the most binding constraints that hamper economic growth at this specific point of time as it is necessary for the implementation of the 4-year economic development plan which is to be unveiled soon. In this backdrop, US based Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) has stepped in to carry out Sri Lanka’s economic growth diagnostic and complexity research with financial assistance of billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros and the Open Society Foundation, informed sources revealed.

Mr. Soros along with the Open Society Foundation is expected to pump in several millions of dollars in tranches for Sri Lanka’s growth diagnostic and complexity research as well as towards the implementation of the economic development plan, a senior official of the Finance Ministry speaking on condition of anonymity told the Business Times adding that this deal is yet to finalised and there was no agreement reached as yet with the government. The country needs to be cautious of economic reforms being implemented before the economic development plan, economic experts said.

Aiming at higher-order principles of neoclassical economics, growth diagnostic – a strategy for figuring out the policy priorities – allows policymakers to creatively develop policy designs which addressing the most binding constraint while taking into account relevant factors of their country’s economic, political and social context. Renowned Economist Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne who declined to comment on Harvard University’s initiative told the Business Times, that Sri Lanka has lost many opportunities in developing the economy and even the present government has not made any attempt towards this end after coming into power almost one and half years ago.

He said that this government came to power putting forward their economic development plan and it has failed to implement it so far. A 10 per cent economic growth is necessary in the next 10-20 years to meet the growing aspirations of the people, and this is feasible if the right policy framework is followed with consistency, he said adding that nothing has been done towards this end so far. Professor Ricardo Hausmann, a former minister from Venezuela and the head of Harvard CID along with a team of local and international economic experts, has undertaken a growth diagnostic and complexity research in the island, a member of the government’s think tank revealed.

The research team of international and local experts will assess the capabilities and know –how of Sri Lankans in the production of any products as well as in the fields of Agriculture, Industry, Information Technology tourism etc. This will be done under the Economic Complexity assessment which is the measure of such capabilities, he added.

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