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VISION 2025 A REALITY OR A DREAM

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Demographer warns the negative impact of declining workforce of Sri Lanka.

The demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country's mortality and fertility and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population. Demographic dividend behind Sri Lanka’s 30 year growth spurt will soon peak out, seriously constraining future growth.

Sri Lankan industry was benefited by the steady increase of labour force during the last three decades. However, the labor force is expected to peak  in 2019 and the full benefit of demographic dividend will fully wean by the year 2035.

The demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a decline in a country's mortality and fertility and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population. Demographic dividend behind Sri Lanka’s 30 year growth spurt will soon peak out, seriously constraining future growth.

Sri Lankan industry was benefited by the steady increase of labour force during the last three decades. However, the labor force is expected to peak  in 2019 and the full benefit of demographic dividend will fully wean by the year 2035. 

As the workforce shrinks due to low fertility, the senior citizens in the population will increase due to lower death rate and improved quality of life. Those who are aged 60 and over, who constitutes only  12.5% of the population in 2012, will account for 16% of population in 2022 and one-fourth by 2042. The overall productivity of the economy will be under pressure, as the elderly people become less and less productive as they age.

Professor Indralal de Silva emphasized that steps must be taken immediately to release the majority of the labour force engaged in agriculture, somewhat bloated and inefficient public sector, plantation, fisheries, low skilled manufacturing and services sectors must be retrained and redeployed into high-end services, premium hospitality, high value manufacturing and high value knowledge products.  For this the education system, secondary and tertiary, must make immediate changes to the content and structure to meet the demands of a 21st century economy. 

In the next installment of this story we will further examine the social and economic impact of changing demographics of Sri Lanka. We will be bringing in the views of economists, researchers, public policy makers and industrialist.

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

SHENALI DE SILVA

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