I saw this story about e-medi help and remote diagnosing and it reminded me of one of my first exposures to the power of ICTs in bridging the services gap for people. It was on a World Bank field visit during a summer project back in 2006, we were going around the country visiting project […]
Promoting Entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka: Balancing the Government’s Role and Introducing an Entrepreneurship Climate IndexThe Curionomist
Entrepreneurship is very much about ideas and efforts of individual (or a collective) of private actors, who start a business, hire employees, make profits, invest, expand, etc. – all through private initiative and risk-taking. So, to talk about a role for government in all this might seem unnecessary. At the same time, believing that there is no room for government ...
At the recent Energy Symposium, a crosscutting theme throughout was the need for Sri Lanka to build new knowledge capacity in the energy sector to meet emerging challenges.
This article originally appears in the Daily Mirror Business of 17th June 2015, under the weekly ‘Smart Future’ column. As the Sri Lankan economy makes the tricky transition through middle-income, it will increasingly feel a lot like a ‘squeeze from two sides’. From one side, Sri Lanka is being squeezed on wage costs – we […]
This article originally appears in the Daily Mirror Business of 10th June 2015, under the ‘Smart Future’ weekly series. In developing the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector, we often assume that the quick and easy fix is concessionary loan schemes. But there is a key issue which goes beyond access to finance, but is […]
Two years ago when Robert Wescott – a former economic advisor to US President Bill Clinton - told a group of us at an economics forum that in a few years the price of oil will drop sharply to undermine alternative unconventional sources, few in the room believed him. It was an era of 100-dollar oil, production of unconventional sources ...
This is the 13th article in the ‘Smart Future’ series, appearing originally in print in the Daily Mirror Business of 27th May 2015. Last week, Sri Lanka marked the six-year anniversary since the end of the armed conflict in May 2009. In the aftermath of the war, there was an impressive reconstruction and public infrastructure […]
I’m in Jaffna today for consultations around the World Bank’s SCD study, and I am reminded of a groundbreaking paper by Paul Collier et al. It was a unique joint report by the World Bank and UN Peace Keeping Operations . In it, the author’s argue that country’s that have faced a conflict in the past […]
How should we think about industrialisation in Sri Lanka? It might have something to do with cats and fish!
This article is the 11th edition of the ‘Smart Future’ column, which originally appears in the Daily Mirror Business on 6th May (Wednesday). When nearly 90% of firms in Sri Lanka are SMEs, it is no surprise that the future prosperity of the country will depend on the extent to which the SME sector can […]
It is truly mind boggling how much of a big deal today’s Floyd Mayweather Manny Pacquiao fight was, globally. And it wasn’t just for its great boxing entertainment, but because of the money involved. The two boxers earned between US$ 10 and US$ 15 million per round this morning. Why is this match so expensive? […]
May Day (or Labour Day) each year always fuels conversations around wages, cost of living, working conditions, etc. On wages, the discussions on minimum wages often come up. Interestingly, the government has just announced that it plans to introduce a National Minimum Wage (NMW) soon. This is a contentious issue, with profound implications for labour […]
Author’s note: This article originally appears in the Daily Mirror (Business section) of 29th April 2015. Subsequent to this article appearing, the National Chamber of Commerce took an unusual decision to remove me as the moderator for today’s forum on ‘CEPA and It’s Implications for the Sri Lankan Economy’. The reason, I was told, was […]
In my latest podcast, I talk about tea and hoppers; two of my favourite food items, and indeed of most Sri Lankans. But the government now dictates how much shops can charge me for these – and its a pretty fantastic, lower price than ever before – milk tea at Rs 25, plain tea at Rs. […]
Isn’t it curious why a cab driver didn’t think of Uber? Why Barnes & Noble didn’t think of Amazon? Why Blockbuster didn’t think of Netflix? Or why Marriott didn’t think of AirBnB? Well, according to this article its because when a company is so focussed on the ‘cash cow’ that keeps delivering, you are less likely to […]
The OECD has released the latest data on how donor countries fared in terms of giving development aid and there are some interested insights. While the USA continued to be on top of the list with the most volume of aid – over U$ 30 bn – ranked 21st from over 30 of the top […]
Economists often argue for the need for ‘structural reforms’. Especially in Sri Lanka right now, this phrase is often used, to indicate that the Sri Lankan economy cannot hope to attain a fast growth trajectory and sustain it without undertaking tricky but essential ‘structural reforms’ in education, trade, industry, labour markets, taxation, agriculture, transport, etc. […] ...
A New Outlook for Provincial Economies in Sri Lanka: From ‘Lagging Regions’ to ‘Secondary Growth Hubs’The Curionomist
This article originally appears in the Daily Mirror Business on 8th April, Wednesday For too long now, regions outside the Western Province have been characterized as “lagging” and in need of a boost. But has the terminology itself contributed to the problem? The term “lagging regions” entered the lexicon of Sri Lankan development-speak in the early […]
For too long now, regions outside Sri Lanka’s Western Province have been characterized as “lagging” and in need of a boost. But has the terminology itself contributed to the problem? The term “lagging regions” entered the lexicon of Sri Lankan development-speak in the early to mid-2000s as the idea of regionally balanced development came into prominence […]
It’s been a while since my last podcast, over 2 months ago. In this 2nd podcast, I share some reflections from recent visits to Jaffna, Vavuniya and other parts of the Northern Province. More needs to be done to support entrepreneurship in the North. I feel that years of donor interventions may have hurt entrepreneurship here. Successive […]