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Fireside chat with Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy: Lessons to be learnt from Sri Lanka’s recent economic crisis | Webinar Recording

The ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka offers important lessons for policymakers globally. In a thought-provoking fireside chat, Julia Charlton chair of the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce speaks with Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, former Governor of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank, to analyse the origins and impacts of the crisis, along with Sri Lanka’s path to recovery.

Tracing Sri Lanka’s economic decline since independence, Dr. Coomaraswamy highlights fiscal indiscipline, financial repression, and politicization eroding public institutions as key factors. Poor macroeconomic policies, ill-conceived bans, and lack of policy frameworks exacerbated instability. Measures like introducing a primary budget surplus rule and flexible exchange rate are needed to restore stability. Strengthening central bank independence and public finance management will enable necessary reforms.

To unlock growth, Sri Lanka must boost exports, develop agriculture and tourism, and improve infrastructure. The country can leverage its strategic location, tourism potential, and workforce to attract investment. Expanding financial services, fostering capital markets, and building resilient supply chains will also spur development. Despite enormous challenges, Sri Lanka is working to stabilise its economy and implement prudent reforms.

Dr. Coomaraswamy emphasizes that with the right policies and institutional strengthening, Sri Lanka can rebound. The country retains tremendous economic potential. As it commits to Commonwealth values of good governance and social development, Sri Lanka provides lessons for nations facing similar crises. Its future remains bright if it can tap into its promise.