Sri Lanka, 16-27 March 2015
Located off the southern coast of India in South Asia, the tropical Island of Sri Lanka has the physical infrastructure and financial indicators of a developing country. Although per capita income has doubled since 2005 to US$3,380 economic progress was stalled for 30 years due to a long and bitter civil war which only ended five years ago. Sri Lanka’s social indicators however, from a life expectancy of 74 to literacy rates of 98 per cent, are comparable with those of a developed nation. It is the only South Asian country to rank “High” on the Human Development Index. Basic healthcare and education through tertiary level are free for all (although competition for university places is fierce).
But for the 10-13 million Sri Lankans living at the base of the economic pyramid the social safety nets are insufficient if the breadwinner falls ill or natural disasters strike. Micro-insurance addresses this need and was the focus of the field project for GIFT’s 40th Global Leaders Programme (GLP) during which participants worked closely with leading local conglomerate the LOLC Group to support the expansion of its fledgling micro-insurance business.