Road to Recovery: IFC Commits to Sri Lanka’s Post-Conflict Growth
March 14, 2012 -- Recovery and reintegration efforts of Sri Lanka’s post-conflict regions got a boost with IFC’s growing focus on advisory and investment interventions. With Sri Lanka emerging from the effects of a nearly 30-year conflict, and its economy rebounding in the two years since the conflict ended, there is a promise of hope. The country has grown at 8 percent in 2010 and 2011.
For such growth to be sustainable, Sri Lanka’s development partners will need to focus on the promotion of infrastructure development, increased access to financial services, and development of small and medium enterprises, especially in the post-conflict north and east.
IFC, together with its partners, is expanding its activities to reach more people and foster economic growth in these newly resettled and recovering regions.
Creating an Impact
IFC’s presence has already played a vital role in boosting access to financial services in the post-conflict regions.
IFC’s partnerships with two of Sri Lanka’s leading microfinance institutions, Sanasa Development Bank and Lanka Orix Micro Credit, have helped bring about increased access to basic banking and financial services across the island. With another additional expansion of both partnerships, IFC will reach up to 20,000 new borrowers in conflict-affected north.
“Our work is focused on empowering entrepreneurs and promoting sustainable development, especially as we expand,” said Ishara Nanayakkara, Director of Lanka Orix Micro Credit. “IFC’s continued support has helped us do more to cater to the needs of people living in post-conflict Sri Lanka.”
As resettlement continues in both northern and eastern regions the number of small businesses is on the rise. As more land now becomes available for cultivation, farming in these regions is booming, helping efforts to resume economic activity.
“I was struck by the strong entrepreneurial spirit among farmers and entrepreneurs here,” said EVP and CEO Lars Thunell on a recent visit to the post-conflict town of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. “It was memorable to see how microfinance has helped them settle back to leading peaceful lives.”