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Some people are surprised that after all these years of speaking, responding, discussing, I still prepare when asked to speak in public. So when I was asked to serve as a discussant at a CEPA conference on infrastructure and urbanization, I read the papers. They had very little to do with the subject matter, choosing instead to regurgitate the obsolete ideological debates of the 1970s. But one sentence caught my eye: “After seven decades of national development and an expansion of the middle-class over a couple of decades, there are more poor people in Sri Lanka today than at independence.” No reference was provided, but I started digging.

Sri Lanka: Assumptions of connectivity

Posted on January 19, 2011  /  4 Comments

I just got back from observing extended focus groups on the knowledge and information gaps faced by small-scale rubber growers in the Galle and Monaragala districts of Sri Lanka. The locations were quite remote, if one checks the map of Badalkumbura (we were several km further to the interior). The remoteness is exemplified by the fact that it took me six hours of driving to get back to Colombo. It is too early to talk about the results of the focus group research, which will be released in due time. What struck me was how Sri Lanka had changed in terms of telecom.