The growth and competitiveness of the Sri Lanka economy, particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), would benefit significantly from better access to finance and productive markets, improved access to technology, addressing skills gaps in the workforce, and better coordinated and inclusive policy reform. Australia has identified target sectors and value chains that offer the highest potential to increase the income and wealth of the poor, and women in particular. We work closely with the private sector and government to enable business by improving skills, technology, regulations and policies. Australia's investment in this area is channeled through two distinct activities: a Market Development Facility (MDF) and a 'Skills for Inclusive Economic Growth' (S4G) program.
Economic Opportunities for the Poor
$27 million, 2014-2020
Australia's two major activities in this field, the MDF and S4G program, aim to reduce poverty through inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. Both investments deliver the Australian Government's development priorities by adapting to the Sri Lankan context innovative approaches from elsewhere in the aid program and by improving women's economic empowerment.
The MDF operates to identify and analyse sectors that have the potential for strong, pro-poor growth. It develops partnerships with key players, including SMEs, in the private sector to grow markets and strengthen the engagement of the poor with those markets.
S4G (S4G) pilots a flexible, market-oriented technical vocational education and training (TVET) program in Sri Lanka's poorest provinces, focusing on the poor (especially women and people with a disability) in the informal sector. It seeks to improve the ability of the poor to gain jobs in the expanding tourism sector.