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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 at the end of the war.


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Economy - overview
Sri Lanka continues to experience strong economic growth, driven by large-scale reconstruction and development projects following the end of the 26-year conflict with the LTTE. Sri Lanka is pursuing a combination of government directed policies, private investment, both foreign and domestic, to spur growth in disadvantaged areas, develop small and medium enterprises, and increase agricultural productivity. The government struggles with high debt interest payments, a bloated civil service, and historically high budget deficits. However recent reforms to the tax code have resulted in higher revenue and lower budget deficits in recent years. The 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession exposed Sri Lanka's economic vulnerabilities and nearly caused a balance of payments crisis. Growth slowed to 3.5% in 2009. Economic activity rebounded strongly with the end of the war and an IMF agreement, resulting in two straight years of high growth in 2010 and 2011. Per capita income of $5,600 on a purchasing power parity basis is among the highest in the region.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 66
$118 billion (2011 est.)
$109.1 billion (2010 est.)
$101 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$59.1 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 19
8.2% (2011 est.)
8% (2010 est.)
3.5% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 144
$5,700 (2011 est.)
$5,300 (2010 est.)
$5,000 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 13%
Industry 29.6%
Services 57.4% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 57
8.307 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 32.7%
Industry 24.2%
Services 43.1% (December 2010 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 38
4.2% (2011 est.)
4.9% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line
8.9% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 1.7%
Highest 10% 36.8% (2009)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 25
49 (2009)
46 (1995)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 29
27.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $8.495 billion
Expenditures $12.63 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 197
14.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 183
-7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 25
79.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
81.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
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

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 157
7% (2011 est.)
5.9% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 42
7% (31 December 2011 est.)
7.25% (31 December 2010)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 105
9.41% (31 December 2011 est.)
9.29% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 109
$3.867 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.67 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 81
$21.89 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$16.34 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 78
$24.21 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$20.44 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 64
$19.44 billion (31 December 2011)
$19.92 billion (31 December 2010)
$8.133 billion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
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

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 13
10.1% (2011 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 90
10.71 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 90
9.268 billion kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 108
636.5 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 79
92,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 199
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 69
84,730 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 195
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 128
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 132
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 183
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 130
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 162
-$4 billion (2011 est.)
-$1.472 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 95
$10.19 billion (2011 est.)
$8.307 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish

Exports - partners
US 20.1%, UK 9.3%, India 6.3%, Italy 5.1%, Germany 5%, Belgium 4.5% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 76
$20.02 billion (2011 est.)
$12.16 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Petroleum, textiles, machinery and transportation equipment, building materials, mineral products, foodstuffs

Imports - partners
India 26%, China 15.9%, Singapore 7.1%, Iran 6.2%, Japan 5% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 80
$7.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$7.197 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 77
$22.81 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$20.45 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

Exchange rates
Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) per US dollar -
110.57 (2011 est.)
113.06 (2010 est.)
114.95 (2009)
108.33 (2008)
110.78 (2007)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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Sri Lanka (Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte):

GPS points from Sri Lanka (Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte)

Nelun Patpokunegala North Eastern

Kanugolla Uva

Marakanda Southern

Gal Oya North Central Province

Ingradavula North Western

Oddu Kulam North Eastern Province

Galmangoda Southern Province

Steel Rock Southern Province

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