Between the years of 1983 and 2009, a massive civil war raged on in Sri Lanka. The war caused many issues for the small island nation, but it dealt major blows to its infrastructure, particularly in the northern part of the country. Infrastructure in Sri Lanka is still in need of many improvements, but the government has taken some steps towards improving it.
Sri Lanka has the highest road density of all South Asian countries and in 2004 it reached out to the World Bank for aiding its road sector. With funding from the World Bank, among other organizations, the country was able to carry through the Road Sector Assistance Project (RSAP) and reconstruct its rural and national roads. A main objective of the project was to create an efficient national road system and therefore lower transportation costs for its population.
Another positive step for Sri Lanka was the creation of the Road Maintenance Trust Fund, which efficiently allocated resources for road maintenance in a way that was transparent to the public. The trust fund also created a sense of social responsibility for contractors, as it made them obligated to repair and renovate roads and public buildings like schools and health clinics.
In 2005, Sri Lanka requested aid from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to improve services such as water supply, drainage and solid waste management. The ADB evaluated the use of these funds and determined that Sri Lanka was successful in improving living conditions and reducing poverty through the updating of infrastructure services.
Additionally, the Asian Development Bank funded the National Highways Sector Project in Sri Lanka since 2016. This project focused on upgrading about 223 kilometers of major highways in the country and also implemented a more efficient maintenance system. These improvements to the road system in Sri Lanka has made transportation much easier for many farmers and merchants who would previously travel long days to sell their products.
These steps show Sri Lanka moving in the right direction in terms of infrastructure. In the future, the main issues the country may face are related to lack of funding for infrastructure. In order to maintain this growth, the government should prioritize internal development and continue to partner with organizations like the ADB and the World Bank.
With the improvements to infrastructure in Sri Lanka, there have also been improvements to other areas of development throughout the country, such as poverty levels and access to medical care. If Sri Lanka can continue this trend, it will be doing a service to its residents, its economy, and its overall development.
– Liyanga de Silva