Sri Lanka poor concentrated in cities, helps poverty fight: World Bank

ECONOMYNEXT – The concentration of Sri Lanka’s poor around urban areas will help its drive to reduce poverty levels as its cities develop, the World Bank has said.

“The poor are concentrated in and around urban agglomerations,” says Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasquez, the World Bank’s Senior Director, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice.

Half of the poor population is within 30 km of urban areas and 80 percent within 60km.

“So as cities grow and become the focus of economic development they can also be vehicles of prosperity for this poor,” Ijjasz-Vasquez said. “In other countries a larger number of poor are in villages.”

In Sri Lanka the poor are close to areas with economic potential, Ijjasz-Vasquez noted.

“So cities can be centres of prosperity providing ways to ensure prosperity is shared across all segments of society,” he told a forum where the World Bank’s new report on urbanisation was launched.

The report said the majority of poor and vulnerable are located in close proximity to major urban centers with a large share in close proximity to the Colombo metro region, Kandy, and the Galle-Matara agglomeration.

“The good news is that these are also the areas with the highest levels of economic potential,” it said.

“Policies to improve the working of agglomerations can have major poverty reduction impacts.”
(Colombo/October 07 2015)
 

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