Lion nation – next destination (Developed Nation by 2030)
Posted on October 12th, 2009

Prabath Warusavithana UK

In 1970’s two Asian nations looked up to our nation in search of inspiration in the process of developing their own countries. Singapore and South Korea wanted to be like Sri Lanka one day. While we lost our cause and drifted into a long bloody fight against terrorism these two nations soon overtook us and rapidly progress their way towards development. Look at them today listed among top of the developed countries and competing neck and neck and standing tall in global economy. While we stand as 74th poorest country in the world these two are among the top 30 richest countries.

When British left us, we were one of the richest nations in Asia and we can only blame our politicians for bringing our dynamic nation on to the knees.

But finally after three decades in wilderness, thanks to heroic sons of our armed forces and great leadership of HE president Rajapakse we are in a dawn of a new era.

How are we going to define this new era? I suppose at this historical juncture we should relish the moment and set our nation a greater goal to achieve, without wasting time on debating and making a big fuss of minor issues or falling back to an era of political wilderness and infighting once again.

How about setting a goal to become a developed nation by 2030 and set an ambitious national policy and an aggressive plan to achieve the goal. We surely need an aggressive development plan to recover the lost 30 years and I believe if as a nation to achieve the above goal we need an equally aggressive and typically Sri Lankan recipe like the one we used to finish the war in 3 years against all the odds.

Recently I read and article on Bloomberg website which quoted that Sri Lanka may now become Hong Kong of India. No we don’t need to be a second fiddle to any other country. But we may work closely with all the neighbour countries in achieving our goal to become a developed nation in our own right.

Next question is how we are going to achieve this mammoth task within next 2 decades. First and foremost we need to constitute a national policy and a plan to guide us through, and more importantly this has to be done collectively as this policy may remain the top priority and may not changed by the core irrespective of different point of views of future governments.

Then we need to lay down an action plan identifying key targets and deadlines and may review at key stages to assess the progress and make changes as necessary. Let’s leave the details to top brains of our country and I may discuss here few ideas came on to my mind during bed time stories.

We need to protect and improve our free education system, make it universal. Expand the capacity of our national university network by five fold. Allowing every teenager qualifies for a university place to achieve their dream and their potential, unlike our generation. Big question now, how to find funds for such a big project? Did we ask this question while fighting terror? No. then do not ask it now. Because this is much bigger and a decisive war than fighting terror, it’s about our future generation and this will change the destiny of the whole nation. Get our heroic sons in armed forces to build the universities for future; I have seen some brilliant engineering works done by them. Also get business community involved in these projects, get them to contribute for these development projects instead of taxing them. Also slim down other Government budgets and divert funds into this project like we did during war.

Next key thing revolutionise the agriculture. Lease out every fertile bare land in all corners of the country to farmers or to be farmers for free and get them digging. Protect them and their crops. Ask nation to pay bit more for a healthy national future.

Invigorate industrial sector by encouraging innovation and skills, give hand to young entrepreneurs. Again get business community involve.

Next phase promote investments, get rid of red tape. Sri Lanka ranked 105th in the doing business 2010, World Bank report. We need to target to be in top ten business friendly countries and this is a fairly easy task compared to others. Another important aspect is these investments may be distributed equally around the country. Development has to be gradual and equal in all corners of the land. We can not leave behind one part of the country and move forward, equal opportunity may offer to every citizen of the country, may be centred around provincial capitals at the beginning.

Government lead export drive, tap all the export markets in the world. Sometimes I come across made in Sri Lanka products in large supermarkets in UK which make me bit emotional with pride. There is a huge export market and I know we can do much better. Instead of going after GSP+ for short term benefits, we should look into the future. Find new markets instead of traditional ones.

On top of all these we should bring in laws and regulations to stop corruption and genuinely lead from the top to eradicate this crime from our nation for ever for good. And bring in proper fiscal management and good governance in to public sector. These are vital tools in this process.

With these entire things fell into place we can embark on this exiting journey together as a one proud nation.

Now let me bring in some general information about characteristics and features of a developed country.

The term developed country is used to describe countries that have a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criterion, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue and there is fierce debate about this. Economic criteria have tended to dominate discussions. One such criterion is income per capita and countries with high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita being described as developed countries. Another economic criterion is industrialization. Countries in which the tertiary and quaternary sectors of industry dominate being described as developed. More recently another measure, the Human Development Index (HDI), which combines with an economic measure, national income, with other measures, indices for life expectancy and education has become prominent. Developed countries being those with a high (HDI) rating. However, many anomalies exist when determining “developed” status by whichever measure is used.

If we look at GDP figures we generate $39 billion per year while Singapore GDP is $181billion. This means we will have to increase our production by at least 4 times to get somewhere in the region. If we take GDP per capita with India we are comparatively better due to low population. Ours is $4,581 and India’s is $2,672. But South Korea’s is $ 27,647 and we will have to target to be above $20,000 mark at least.

When we look at more recent HDI index India scores 0.6 while we score 0.7(104th in the world) and Singapore scores 0.9(28th) which should be the target.

Naturally we are a healthy nation with only 15% poverty compared to 42% in India but we need to target and bring this down to below 5% at least(South Korea is les than 4%and it is a tremendous achievement looking back where they were 20 years ago ). Also we are blessed with high literacy and life expectancy with an intelligent work force compared to most of the developing world and on top of that we carry a great cultural heritage. So given all these positives why can’t we become a developed country in 2 decades. Yes we can.

With a leadership with a clear vision, political unity and determination and a mass national movement to achieve this common goal for good, with right brains behind the steering, will take us to enjoy the prosperity similar to king Parakrama Bahu era in modern world. And when we achieve this goal, generations to come we will be the greatest nation on earth once again.

Prabath Warusavithana


2 Responses to “Lion nation – next destination (Developed Nation by 2030)”

  1. samn Says:

    I see a lot of people very optimistic and showing feelings or patriotism with renewed hopes after ending a 30 year old plague that have been holding Sri Lanka hostage. That is good. But that optimism needs to be materialized and those hopes must turn into actions to achieve that next step as many would dream today. One must realize that it is not only the terrorist war that has ruined our country. Our own people, mainly the politicians are responsible for that plight too. We have as a collection of people have contributed to the deterioration of our society and the country too. We must see that clearly and correct it. Politicians have failed our country too much and to many times. Politics of corruptions, family building, favorism can not make Sri Lanka a Singapore. Economically we are in deep ditch. Our productions is very low. Our government is overwhelmed by thugs and swindlers who’s only agenda is to keep in power at any cost. Sigapore and many similar countries developed to the point where they are now with a focused effort made over a long period of time combined with good governance. A genuine and focused effort must first come from leaders and propagate into people so they would work hard as a collection to give enough trust to fire off the economy. I am not trying to blame any particular person or a party. But I do not see things moving in that direction. It is good that we are optimistic about new possibilities for Sri Lanka. I have no doubt, our people are fully capable of being one of the best if inspired and guided. Unfortunately, the current political climate does not give me any hope of that happening. In this defining moment, I want to be hopeful. I wish our leaders will change their heart and mind to genuinly do good for the country instead of thinking about power or family building. At the sametime I do not want to be cynical and have false hopes and dreams. For one, I am waiting for an indication that will show me, Sri Lankan leaders have change and charting a new course for the country. For now, it is no where to be seen. They are busy with elections and strategizing how to survive politically and hold on to power. Ending the war is not a automatic indication that miracles are on the way.

  2. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    Dear Editors, I am delighted to read the content written by Prabath and the comment made by Samn as such thinking is not what our last colonial masters had in their minds when they left us with the current set up. Unfortunately, we have lost the direction and may be we are trying to walk using our hands today if we analyse the twists and turns that took us to the current status. It is true that there is a massive difference between words and deeds.

    Whatever the current flight, we belong to a nation who led the world and envied by many others through out the history, and a case in point is the Hindu attitude towards us that runs into many millennia. It is true that now we are struggling to find our identity and a solid ground to stay alive. However, without getting the history right, we may not know exactly what will be tomorrow for us. The reference to lion in the heading is just one half of our identity.

    What comes to our mind is something very interesting and those capable of understanding our conscience would see that tomorrow is going to better for us. As the writer said, we do not belong to a nation that wants to be a second fiddle to any body because we never were. We continue to fail because we try to be what we are not thanks to political imports that run our country for several millennia. Considering what we want to achieve, we should not try to borrow from others the means to measure who we are, our worth or what our targets should be. We are moulded into the best possible system of things that gives us the universality in our belief. That is to say that WE SHOULD BELIEVE IN LIFE AND LIVING LONGER. This is the hardest job that we could encounter in our lives.

    Undoubtedly, English rule the world and are reaching the last part of their cycle. There is a lot to learn about how they achieved this feat from being a small minority among many tribes about 1300 years back to what they are today. When you try to find it, you will find that it was the knowledge that came across them as travellers among other minor matters that helped them. When you further analyse, all the knowledge that every one take for granted today were the product of our ancient civilisation, which is also the first outside the wild. This historical attachment is what makes us who we are. Unfortunately, everything that happened to this date has their own relevance to continuos evolution process outside the wild and may have contributed to reach the next phase that we are going to witness very soon.

    Instead of trying to become a primitive (first) world that many of you have become part of, where your worth is measured by your masters and how much you have is decide by your employment that may turn to zero if you lose your jobs, it is time to focus on the line in Capital letters I said earlier. We belong to the civilisation that substituted gold instead of bartering goods at a time of opulence leading to the worthless paper version today. Unfortunately, like many other aspects of our innovations, English, opposite of Sinhala, have used them to turn life into a nightmare along with everything upside down. We should not be afraid because we are a people who need such challenges to come out of our comfort zones to face it and win. If you make a deep look inside your own, you will find that we are not born to losers, but winners who have even defied the nature. If you see the global situation, nothing is working for better and everything is sliding into the abyss. Rather than being hopeless, it is also the time for Sinhala people to make their move that gives your sense of strange thought of a better tomorrow.

    I made a bit of bush beating because we have the best among us who may have already devised the future of humanity, which is much brighter than you think, though we may not like to see the four-legged variety among us that brought us down to the current situation.

    Though I am totally ignorant of true migrants who are a curse to humanity, which also brought down our civilisation from the dizzying heights to a hellhole that we struggle to keep together, I am making these comments because many of you accessing this website have become so under unfortunate circumstances who could contribute to our endeavours to achieve the cherished goal of our ancient ancestors, who wanted to live longer a life free from natural or man made calamities. Personally, I engage in making my comments because of my own guilt of being a migrant in the hope that those among you who deserve will get my message.

    What if we offer a system dear to our hearts content that guarantees life from inception to the burial a pleasant experience for everyone who loves being human and free of natural and other circumstantial evil that burn our backs today. What if we have the chance to be what we want to be in our lives as a loved one, not as slaves that are treated like scum? I have to mention that we are neither politicians nor religious fanatics, but real people who do real things and achieve real products and have the world leading knowledge in our hands, the next level of knowledge our ancestors built to create our lives. Here, we talk of ways and means that none of your have yet realised, though known to some of the best of our ancient ancestors who created all the knowledge that we take for granted. We are also people who have humiliated English, the world leaders today in their own games and see no point in following them unless you wish to commit suicide. We know how English did it and we are very confident that we can do it millions trillion times better. Those who could decipher my comment can be briefed during the next year on our plans for those who choose life following Sinhala tradition. Obviously, we are not after BS, but want you to ask yourself what you want. If you say live, then asked how? It could be the best start to make our country the best that it could be and the future of the humanity.

    Obviously, we tried with the so-called patriotic politicians to implement our plans, but decided to stay away because of their conduct that you seem to figure out now after several years of observation. That may give some clues to why they are so keen to seek help from Diaspora overextending their arms. They will definitely fail like others, who are taking our people for another ride unless they can come up with action plans to realise words borrowed from those who can do what the words meant. Unfortunately, those who want to die or want to deny our rights to live as equals in our country or act to appease our enemies will not have our support to make hell for all our future generations.

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