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South Asia :: Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka
  • Introduction :: SRI LANKA

  • The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was formally united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006, but the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. By May 2009, the government announced that its military had defeated the remnants of the LTTE. Since the end of the conflict, the government has enacted an ambitious program of economic development projects, many of which are financed by loans from the Government of China. In addition to efforts to reconstruct its economy, the government has resettled more than 95% of those civilians who were displaced during the final phase of the conflict and released the vast majority of former LTTE combatants captured by Government Security Forces. At the same time, there has been little progress on more contentious and politically difficult issues such as reaching a political settlement with Tamil elected representatives and holding accountable those alleged to have been involved in human rights violations and other abuses during the conflict.
  • Geography :: SRI LANKA

  • Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India
    7 00 N, 81 00 E
    Asia
    total: 65,610 sq km
    land: 64,630 sq km
    water: 980 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 122
    slightly larger than West Virginia
    0 km
    1,340 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)
    mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m
    limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower, arable land
    arable land: 19.93%
    permanent crops: 15.95%
    other: 64.12% (2012 est.)
    5,700 sq km (2003)
    52.8 cu km (2011)
    total: 12.95 cu km/yr (6%/6%/87%)
    per capita: 638.8 cu m/yr (2005)
    occasional cyclones and tornadoes
    deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
    strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes
  • People and Society :: SRI LANKA

  • noun: Sri Lankan(s)
    adjective: Sri Lankan
    Sinhalese 74.9%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.2%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.2%, Indian Tamil 4.2%, other 0.5% (2012 est.)
    Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
    note: English, spoken competently by about 10% of the population, is commonly used in government and is referred to as the link language in the constitution
    Buddhist (official) 70.2%, Hindu 12.6%, Muslim 9.7%, Roman Catholic 6.1%, other Christian 1.3%, other 0.05% (2012 est.)
    21,866,445 (July 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    0-14 years: 24.7% (male 2,758,360/female 2,648,073)
    15-24 years: 14.9% (male 1,651,901/female 1,606,465)
    25-54 years: 42.1% (male 4,504,395/female 4,708,288)
    55-64 years: 9.5% (male 966,295/female 1,117,310)
    65 years and over: 8.7% (male 812,669/female 1,092,689) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 51.3%
    youth dependency ratio: 38.1%
    elderly dependency ratio: 13.2%
    potential support ratio: 7.6% (2014 est.)
    total: 31.8 years
    male: 30.6 years
    female: 32.9 years (2014 est.)
    0.86% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    16.24 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    6.06 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    -1.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    urban population: 18.3% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 0.72% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    COLOMBO (capital) 704,000; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital) 128,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    25.4
    note: median age at first birth among women 30-34 (2006/07 est.)
    35 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    total: 9.02 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 9.98 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 8.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    total population: 76.35 years
    male: 72.85 years
    female: 79.99 years (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    2.13 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    68.4% (2006/07)
    3.3% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    0.68 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    3.6 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    improved:
    urban: 99.1% of population
    rural: 92.9% of population
    total: 93.8% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 0.9% of population
    rural: 7.1% of population
    total: 6.2% of population (2012 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 82.9% of population
    rural: 93.9% of population
    total: 92.3% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 17.1% of population
    rural: 6.1% of population
    total: 7.7% of population (2012 est.)
    0.02% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    2,900 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    100 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
    vectorborne disease: dengue fever
    water contact disease: leptospirosis
    animal contact disease: rabies (2013)
    5.1% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    26.3% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    1.7% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 91.2%
    male: 92.6%
    female: 90% (2010 est.)
    total: 14 years
    male: 13 years
    female: 14 years (2012)
    total: 17.3%
    male: 14%
    female: 23.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
  • Government :: SRI LANKA

  • conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
    conventional short form: Sri Lanka
    local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
    local short form: Shri Lanka/Ilankai
    former: Serendib, Ceylon
    republic
    name: Colombo; note - Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is the legislative capital
    geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 79 50 E
    time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western
    4 February 1948 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 4 February (1948)
    several previous; latest adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978; amended many times, last in 2010 (2010)
    mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Maithripala SIRISENA (since 9 January 2015); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government; Ranil WICKREMESINGHE (since 9 January 2015) holds the title of prime minister
    head of government: President Maithripala SIRISENA (since 9 January 2015)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a 6-year term, but can call an election after 4 years; eligible for unlimited terms; election last held on 8 January 2015 (next to be held by January 2021)
    election results: Maithripala SIRISENA elected president; percent of vote - Maithripala SIRISENA (National Democratic Front)) 51.3%, Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) 47.6%
    description: unicameral Parliament (225 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote using a preferential method in which voters select 3 candidates in order of preference; members serve 6-year terms)
    elections: last held on 8 April 2010 with a repoll in two constituencies held on 20 April 2010 (next to be held by 23 April 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by alliance/party - United People's Freedom Alliance 60.93%, United National Front 29.34%, Democratic National Alliance 5.49%, Tamil National Alliance 2.9%, other 1.34%; seats by alliance/party - United People's Freedom Alliance 144, United National Front 60, Tamil National Alliance 14, Democratic National Alliance 7
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of the chief justice and 10 justices); note - the court has exclusive jurisdiction to review legislation
    judge selection and term of office: the chief justice appointed by the president; the other justices appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice; all justices hold office until age 65
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate's Courts; municipal and primary courts
    All Ceylon Muslim Congress [Rishad BAITHUTHEEN]
    Democratic National Alliance, led by General (Retired) Sarath FONSEKA
    Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP [Anura Kumara DISSANAYAKE]
    Jathika Hela Urumaya or JHU [Patali Champika RANAWAKA]
    Sri Lanka Freedom Party [Maithripala SIRISENA and Mahinda RAJAPAKSA claimed leadership as of January 2015]
    Sri Lanka Muslim Congress [Rauff HAKEEM]
    Tamil National Alliance [R. SAMPANTHAN]
    United National Party [Ranil WICKREMESINGHE]
    Buddhist clergy
    Sinhalese Buddhist lay groups
    other: labor unions; hard-line nationalist Sinhalese groups such as the National Movement Against Terrorism
    ABEDA, ADB, ARF, BIMSTEC, C, CD, CICA (observer), CP, FAO, G-11, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Prasad KARIYAWASAM (since 14 July 2014)
    chancery: 2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 483-4025 through 4028
    FAX: [1] (202) 232-7181
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Andrew C. MANN (since 6 December 2014) note - also accredited to Maldives
    embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3
    mailing address: P. O. Box 106, Colombo
    telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500
    FAX: [94] (11) 243-7345
    yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other larger panel depicts a yellow lion holding a sword on a maroon rectangular field that also displays a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels; the lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves - symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country - stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity; orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, green Sri Lankan Moors, and maroon the Sinhalese majority; yellow denotes other ethnic groups; also referred to as the Lion Flag
    lion, water lily; national colors: maroon, yellow
    name: "Sri Lanka Matha" (Mother Sri Lanka)
    lyrics/music: Ananda SAMARKONE
    note: adopted 1951
  • Economy :: SRI LANKA

  • Sri Lanka continues to experience strong economic growth following the end of the 26-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The government has been pursuing large-scale reconstruction and development projects in its efforts to spur growth in war-torn and disadvantaged areas, develop small and medium enterprises and increase agricultural productivity. The government's high debt payments and bloated civil service have contributed to historically high budget deficits, but fiscal consolidation efforts and strong GDP growth in recent years have helped bring down the government's fiscal deficit. However, low tax revenues are a major concern. The 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession exposed Sri Lanka's economic vulnerabilities and nearly caused a balance of payments crisis. Agriculture slowed due to a drought and weak global demand affected exports and trade. In early 2012, Sri Lanka floated the rupee, resulting in a sharp depreciation, and took steps to curb imports. A large trade deficit remains a concern, but strong remittances from Sri Lankan workers abroad help offset the trade deficit. Government debt of about 80% of GDP remains among the highest in emerging markets.
    $217.1 billion (2014 est.)
    $202.9 billion (2013 est.)
    $189.1 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 63
    $71.57 billion (2014 est.)
    7% (2014 est.)
    7.3% (2013 est.)
    6.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    $10,400 (2014 est.)
    $9,700 (2013 est.)
    $9,200 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 130
    28.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    27.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
    23.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    household consumption: 66.1%
    government consumption: 12.8%
    investment in fixed capital: 29.6%
    investment in inventories: 0.3%
    exports of goods and services: 22.5%
    imports of goods and services: -31.4%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 10.2%
    industry: 33.1%
    services: 56.7% (2014 est.)
    rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, vegetables, fruit, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, beef; fish
    processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; tourism, shipping; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining, information technology services, construction
    9.4% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    8.916 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    agriculture: 31.8%
    industry: 25.8%
    services: 42.4% (June 2012)
    4.2% (2014 est.)
    4.4% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    8.9% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.6%
    highest 10%: 39.5% (2009)
    49 (2010)
    46 (1995)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    revenues: $9.978 billion
    expenditures: $14.14 billion (2014 est.)
    13.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    -5.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    78.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    78.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
    note: covers central government debt, and excludes debt instruments directly owned by government entities other than the treasury (e.g. commercial bank borrowings of a government corporation); the data includes treasury debt held by foreign entities as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement; sub-national entities are usually not permitted to sell debt instruments
    country comparison to the world: 30
    calendar year
    3.8% (2014 est.)
    6.9% (2013 est.)
    6.5% (31 December 2013)
    7.5% (19 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    11.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    12.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $4.037 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $3.706 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    $27.19 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $23.39 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    $36.22 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $33.04 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $18.48 billion (31 November 2013 est.)
    $17.05 billion (31 December 2012)
    $19.44 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    -$2.067 billion (2014 est.)
    -$2.665 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    $11.88 billion (2014 est.)
    $10.39 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish
    US 21.8%, UK 8.3%, India 4.5%, Germany 4.2% (2013)
    $19.24 billion (2014 est.)
    $18 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    petroleum, textiles, machinery and transportation equipment, building materials, mineral products, foodstuffs
    India 21.5%, China 17.6%, Singapore 10.1%, UAE 6.1%, Iran 4.9% (2013)
    $8.314 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $7.495 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $27.11 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $26.26 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    $NA
    $NA
    Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) per US dollar -
    130.4 (2014 est.)
    129.07 (2013 est.)
    127.6 (2012 est.)
    110.57 (2011 est.)
    113.06 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: SRI LANKA

  • 11.8 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    9.557 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    3.147 million kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    55.4% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    44.5% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    0.1% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    35,440 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    94,470 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    44,270 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    15.23 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: SRI LANKA

  • 2.796 million (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    19.533 million (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    general assessment: telephone services have improved significantly and are available in most parts of the country
    domestic: national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fiber-optic links now in use in Colombo area and fixed wireless local loops have been installed; competition is strong in mobile cellular systems and mobile cellular subscribership is increasing
    international: country code - 94; the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2011)
    government operates 8 TV channels and a radio network; multi-channel satellite and cable TV subscription services available; 35 private TV stations and about 50 radio stations (2012)
    AM 15, FM 52, shortwave 4 (2007)
    12 (2009)
    .lk
    9,552 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    1.777 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 75
  • Transportation :: SRI LANKA

  • 19 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    total: 15
    over 3,047 m: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
    914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
    total: 4
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m:
    3 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    total: 1,449 km
    broad gauge: 1,449 km 1.676-m gauge (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    total: 114,093 km
    paved: 16,977 km
    unpaved: 97,116 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    160 km (primarily on rivers in southwest) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    total: 21
    by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 13, chemical tanker 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 2
    foreign-owned: 8 (Germany 8) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    major seaport(s): Colombo
    container port(s) (TEUs): Colombo (3,651,963)
  • Military :: SRI LANKA

  • Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Coast Guard (2015)
    18-22 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 5-year service obligation (Air Force) (2012)
    males age 16-49: 5,342,147
    females age 16-49: 5,466,409 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 4,177,432
    females age 16-49: 4,574,833 (2010 est.)
    male: 167,026
    female: 162,587 (2010 est.)
    2.43% of GDP (2012)
    2.89% of GDP (2011)
    2.43% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 29
  • Transnational Issues :: SRI LANKA

  • none
    IDPs: up to 90,000 (civil war; more than half displaced prior to 2008; many of the more than 480,000 IDPs registered as returnees have not reached durable solutions) (2014)
    current situation: Sri Lanka is primarily a source and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; some Sri Lankan adults and children who migrate willingly to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, and the US to work as domestic servants, construction workers, or garment factory workers subsequently face conditions of forced labor, including restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, abuse, and threats; some Sri Lankan women are forced into prostitution in Jordan, Singapore, Maldives, and other countries, while some foreign women are forced into prostitution in Sri Lanka; within Sri Lanka, women and children are also subjected to sex trafficking, and other children are forced to work in the agriculture, fireworks, and fish-drying industries
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Sri Lanka does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; modest trafficking prevention efforts in 2013 included updating a national action plan and launching awareness campaigns; law enforcement efforts were limited; no traffickers were convicted under the trafficking statute and none of those convicted under the procurement statute served prison time; labor recruitment regulations were rarely enforced; authorities did not approve guidelines developed in 2012 for the identification of victims and their referral to protective services; no government employees were investigated or prosecuted, despite allegations of complicity (2014)
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