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Some aspects of youth unemployment and poverty in the Southern province of Sri Lanka


S. M. P. Senanayake

University of Colombo, LK
About S. M. P.
Fomer Professor in Economics
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Unemployment and related issues have disturbed socioeconomic equilibrium in many developing countries including Sri Lanka for decades. The primary sector of the economy, especially agriculture, is considered as the last resort for unemployed and poor people in post independent Sri Lanka by successive governments while improving the capacity of the sec­tor. A number of subsidy schemes, protection from imported items, and land reforms were implemented to make this sector more attractive to the rural population and to make it more effective to reduce rural livelihood related problems with limited success. The capacity in sub sectors such as livestock, fisheries, and forestry has been under utilized due to one reason or other during the same period of time. The story is very much same regarding the agro industry and agribusiness in the country. Similarly, the industrial sec­tor which is critical for economic take off in many developed countries, has failed to usher the economy through higher growth and to absorb the growing labor force in the country. The Southern province of the country, home for two popular youth uprisings, has been a sensitive geographical location due to its higher population density, unavailability of sufficient par­ cels of cultivable lands, highly educated youth population, and high unem­ployment rates. The province has higher levels of unemployment, under employment, and poverty compared with many other provinces of the coun­try. The situation is likely to aggravate further due to the gradually growing young population without employment, rising competition for higher educa­tion without prospects for jobs, and changing attitudes of new generations for old traditional agricultural livelihoods. A meticulously prepared prudent plan is essential to come out of this complicated economic environment, as there is no magic solution to those protracted issues for long period of time.


Sri Lanka Journal of Advanced Social Studies, 2013; Vol 3(2); Page 31-53



How to Cite: Senanayake, S.M.P., 2016. Some aspects of youth unemployment and poverty in the Southern province of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Advanced Social Studies, 3(2), pp.31–53. DOI:
Published on 04 Feb 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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