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Development assistance in Sri Lanka

Flag of Sri Lanka

Australia's development partnership with Sri Lanka

How we are helping

2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
$16.0 million
2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$25.0 million
2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$27.1 million

Sri Lanka has successfully limited the spread of COVID-19, however, health, economic and social challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Significant downturns in key industries such as garments/textiles and tourism as well as declines in remittances threaten to increase poverty, and will impact Sri Lanka’s poorest and most vulnerable, particularly those with intersecting vulnerabilities (e.g. ethnic minorities, women, people with a disabilities, rural populations and socially excluded). Australia’s development program will support Sri Lanka’s efforts to enhance health security, stability and economic recovery through flexible and responsive approaches that meet Sri Lanka’s emerging needs, building on our long-term development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka.

Pillar 1 – health security

Australia was one of the first donors to respond to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. DFAT, Department of Defence and Department of Home Affairs provided medical equipment, food, technical support and health related services to support Sri Lanka’s immediate needs.

Further information on programs addressing health security in Sri Lanka.

Pillar 2 – stability

Department of Home Affairs and DFAT supported vulnerable families with the distribution of dry rations and food supplies for families affected by COVID-19 lockdowns during the initial response to the pandemic. In the longer-term we will support stability in Sri Lanka through a range of governance and social inclusion programs. These programs are aimed at supporting Sri Lanka’s efforts to increase economic growth, reduce poverty and inequality, and strengthen the capacity of relevant authorities.

Further information on programs addressing stability in Sri Lanka.

Pillar 3 – economic recovery

We have pivoted our existing development programs to include a strong private sector-le development focus. Australia’s programs aim to support a robust, inclusive and sustainable Sri Lankan recovery from the pandemic. We have redesigned the skills building element of our portfolio to assist with faster economic recovery in selected value chains such as tourism, agriculture and aquaculture. Our private sector development work will address the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on those most vulnerable, particularly women and people with disabilities. DFAT will leverage our partnership with the World Bank to assist recovery of Small to Medium-sized Enterprises through economic policy reforms. Australia’s and Sri Lanka’s economic recoveries will be boosted through increased trade and education linkages over the longer-term, as we pursue the objectives of our bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement.

Further information on programs addressing economic recovery in Sri Lanka.

Australia’s development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response.

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