Free Societies

Economic Freedom Summit in Sri Lanka offers roadmap for economic prosperity


Each year, the Fraser Institute releases its Economic Freedom of the World Index, which ranks every country based upon the degree to which each country’s policies and institutions support economic freedom. Advocata Institute, an Atlas Network partner organization in Sri Lanka (most recently ranked 94th in the index), recently hosted an Economic Freedom Summit with the Fraser Institute to examine the country’s performance in the index and discuss how the country can improve its rankings through reforms. The summit was an opportunity for Advocata Institute to provide a comprehensive description of the current economic policies in Sri Lanka and to offer a prescription for reform to boost the economy. It also held an essay contest at the event, which brought in one hundred and twenty different essays in three different languages discussing economic reform in Sri Lanka.

Eran Wickramaratne, Sri Lanka's minister of finance, opened the Economic Freedom Summit with his speech.

“The quality of people at the audit, including CEOs, opinion leaders, government officials, the media, academics and so on, was exceptional,” said Fred McMahon, the Fraser Institute’s chair of economic research. “[It started with a] speech from Eran Wickramaratne, [Sri Lanka’s] state minister of finance. The organization was excellent, every breakout session had a highly competent chair and a dedicated secretary, laying the foundation for an excellent follow-up report. This, I believe could become a significant roadmap for moving Sri Lanka forward. But it wasn’t just the audit. Advocata Institute organized impressive side events in both English and [Sinhalese] to get the message out to the public—including a highly effective essay contest. It was marvelous to see how many students attended, [proud of] their work.”

During the summit, Advocata Institute released a reform action plan for Sri Lanka. This document, compiled by Advocata Institute’s staff and commissioned economists, was released in English, Sinhalese, and Tamil to reach the entire population. The purpose of this action plan is to bring the summit’s participants face-to-face with their nation’s economic performance and show them the path to prosperity and opportunity through economic freedom. Advocata Institute wants to instill a sense of ownership of reform in Sri Lankans, encouraging them to advocate for the policies that will advance their society.

A panel at the Economic Freedom Summit discusses how to improve economic freedom in Sri Lanka.

The summit received a tremendous amount of press coverage, sparking a national debate on immigration of skilled labor and taxi regulation while giving Advocata Institute significant publicity. To see some video coverage of the Economic Freedom Summit, check out Advocata Institute’s media page. Advocata Institute, with the help of the Economic Freedom of the World Index, has identified how Sri Lanka can enhance its economic freedom, laying out the path to prosperity and generating momentum behind the liberty movement on the island.