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Sri Lanka


Official Name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Capital: Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte
Official Language: Sinhala, Tamil
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Head of State: President H.E. Maithripala Sirisena
Head of Government: Prime Minister H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe
Foreign Minister: Hon. Ravi Karunanayake
Government Website:
Date of joining: 7 March 1997




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History Of Sri Lanka 

The story of ancient Lanka has its beginnings in the stone Age. The Stone Age in Sri Lanka stretched from 125,000 BC to 1000 BC.  
Sri Lanka has an enthralling recorded history of civilisation. Its unique and proud historical record of a great civilization spans over 25 chronicled centuries, and is documented primarily in three books; the Mahavamsa (Great Genealogy or Dynasty), Dipavamsa and Chulavamsa. Sri Lankan history is distinctive as it has a historical record, which is ancient, continuous and trustworthy, and begins with the occupation of the island by civilised men in 5th century BC. 
Colonial era

Sri Lanka had always been an important port and trading post in the ancient world, and was increasingly frequented by merchant ships from the Middle East, Persia, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. The island were known to the first European explorers of South Asia and settled by many groups of Arab and Malay merchants. 

Sri Lanka came under Colonial rule from 1505-1948.
Sri Lankan independence and independence movement

Following the end of World War I and II, pressure for independence in Sri Lanka intensified. The Office of the Prime Minister of Ceylon was created in advance of independence on 14 October 1947 and Don Stephen Senanayake was chosen as the first Prime Minister. On 4 February 1948 the country won its independence as the Commonwealth of Ceylon. On 21 July 1960 Sirimavo Bandaranaike took office as the prime Minister, and became the world's first female Prime Minister and the first female head of government in post-colonial Asia. In 1972, during Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike's second term as Prime Minister, the country became a republic within the Commonwealth, and the name was changed to Sri Lanka



Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean is located to the south of the Indian subcontinent. It lies between 5° 55' and 9° 55' north of the equator and between the eastern longitudes 79° 42' and 81° 52'. The total land area is 65,610 sq. km. and is astonishingly varied. A length of 445 km. and breadth of 225 km. encompasse beautiful tropical beaches, verdant vegetation, ancient monuments and a thousand delights to please all tastes. The relief features of the island consist of a mountainous mass somewhat south of the centre, with
height exceeding 2,500 metres, surrounded by broad plains. Palm fringed beaches surround the island and the sea temperature rarely falls below 27°C.


In the lowlands the climate is typically tropical with an average temperature of 27°C in Colombo. In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 16°C at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. Bright, sunny warm days are the rule and are common even during the height of the monsoon - climatically Sri Lanka has no off season. The south west monsoon brings rain mainly from May to July to the western, southern and central regions of the island, while the north-east monsoon rains occur in the northern
and eastern regions in December and January.

Government & Politics


The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a free, independent and sovereign nation. A system of administration through provincial councils was introduced in 1988. Legislative power is exercised by Parliament, elected by universal franchise on a proportional representation
basis. Executive power of the people, including defence, is exercised by the President, who is also elected by the people.


Sri Lanka has a population of 18.5 million of whom the majority are Sinhalese (74%). Other ethnic groups are made up of Sri Lankan Tamils (12.6%), Indian Tamils (5.5%),
Moors, Malays, Burghers (of Portuguese & Dutch descent) and others (7.9%).

Sri Lanka is mainly an agricultural country. The chief crop is rice with which the country
is almost self sufficient. Tea, rubber and coconut are also important agricultural crops, with tea being a major foreign exchange earner. In addition, other crops of importance are cocoa and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Fruit and vegetables, native to both tropical and temperate regions, grow well in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also a major exporter of precious and semi-precious stones. Within the last few years
remittances from Sri Lankans employed abroad have contributed a large share towards foreign exchange.

The last three decades have seen tourism emerge as an important industry. There has
also been a rapid growth in manufacturing industries which offer a wide range of export goods such as petroleum products, leather goods, readymade garments and electronic equipment.


Although Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country, Buddhists constitute the majority with  69.3%. Other religious groups are Hindus 15.5%, Muslims 7.6% and Christians 7.5%. Sri Lanka's literacy rate of 90.7% is one of the highest in Asia.


Sri Lanka is mainly an agricultural country with strong services sector. The chief crop is rice with which the country is almost self sufficient. In addition, other crops of importance are cocoa and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Fruit and vegetables, native to both tropical and temperate regions, grow well in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also a major exporter of precious and semi-precious stones. Within the last few years remittances from Sri Lankans employed abroad have contributed a large share towards foreign exchange.
The last three decades have seen tourism emerge as an important industry. There has also been a rapid growth in manufacturing industries which offer a wide range of export goods such as petroleum products, leather goods, ready made garments and electronic equipment.

Economic Overview:

GDP  (PPP)                                      :  $106.5 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate                     : 9.1% (2010 est.)

GDP- Per Capita (ppp)                      : $5,000 (2010 est.)

GDP- composition by sector              : Agriculture   12.8%

Industry                    29.4%                                                

Services                    57.8%

Sri Lanka's Trade with World

Exports                                   :  $8.039 billion (2010 est.)
Exports - principal Commodities:  textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber, 
                                                 manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish Imports                                   :$12 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - principal

Commodities                          :  petroleum, textiles, machinery and transportation      equipment, building materials, mineral products, foodstuffs

Transportation & Communication

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Social Indicators

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International Relations

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News & Media

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Tourism in Sri Lanka 

Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature's beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.
Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65, 610 km lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline - much of it pristine beach - 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500  years. This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka!

At a glance

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Public Holidays

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Capital City

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Major Tourist Attractions

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Planning Your Visit

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Airline and Local Transport

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Trade Agreements within IORA

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Chamber of Commerce

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Trade Legislations

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Business Incentives in Sri Lanka

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Investment Opportunities in Sri Lanka

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List of Private & Public companies

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Conference & Exhibition Facilities

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Educational Opportunities


1. The core of the higher education system of the Country is made up of fourteen  universities, the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), and seventeen other higher educational institutes which come under the purview of the University Grants Commission(UGC). Universities and Higher Educational Institutions come under purview of the UGC.                                                                                                                                     

Currently there are about 73,000 undergraduate students in 14 conventional Universities and Higher Educational Institutions following the degree programmes in Arts, Social Sciences, Humanities, Fine Arts, Commerce, Management Studies, Law, Sciences,
Engineering, Architecture, Medicine, Dental Surgery, Veterinary Science, Indigenous Medicine, Agriculture and Paramedical Studies. Nearly about 18,000 students enrolled for full time and part time postgraduate courses. 

The Open University which provides the distant mode of education has an enrolment about 30,000 students for the undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma and certificate courses. Most of these students are employed or engaged in part time studies.  Besides, about 50,000 new students are admitted annually for the external degree programmes conducted in Universities of Peradeniya, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kelaniya, Moratuwa, Jaffna, Ruhuna, Eastern, South Eastern, Sabaragamuwa, Wayamba and University of Colombo School of
Computing. Students follow the external degree programmes prepare for the examinations by self-study or private tuition and sit the examinations conducted by the University/Higher Educational Institution. 

For detailed information refer the Annex - 1 

2.         In addition, there are four universities established under the provisions of the Acts of Parliament in order to facilitate for national requirements of the Country. They are:  

3. The UGC has recognized several degrees conducted in some of the Higher Educational Institutes for the purpose of developing higher education leading to the conferment of the degrees, in term of the provisions laid down the Universities Act, These degree programmes are as follows:

  1. Institute of Technological Studies

Degrees Recognized:    

Bachelor Degree in Computer Science

Bachelor Degree in Computer Systems Design 

  1. Institute of Surveying and Mapping

Degrees Recognized:

Bachelor of Science (Surveying Science) 

  1. Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (Guarantee) Limited.

Degrees Recognized: 

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (Formerly Bachelor of Information Technology)  
Postgraduate Diploma in Information Technology
Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems 
Postgraduate Diploma in Information Management
M.Sc in Information Technology
M.Sc in Information Systems

M.Sc in Information Management 

  1. Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration 

Degrees Recognized:

Postgraduate Diploma in Public management and Financial Management

Master of Public Management 

  1. National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering

 Degrees Recognized: 

B.Sc in Fisheries and Marine Science(General And Special)

B.Sc in Marine Engineering(Special)

B.Sc in Boat Building and Naval Architecture(Special) 

  1. National Institute of Social Development 

Degrees Recognized: 

Bachelor of Social Works Degree

Master of Social Works Degree (MSW) 

  1. Aquinas College of Higher Studies 

Degrees Recognized:   

Bachelor of Arts General Degree (BA)

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religious studies (BA in Religious Studies)

Bachelor of Information Technology Degree (BIT)

Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Counseling (BSc) 

  1. National Institute of Business Management

 Degrees Recognized:

B.Sc. in Business Management (Areas of Specialization: Human Resource Management, Logistics, Project Management and Industrial Management)

B.Sc. in Management Information Systems 

4.        Admissions of Students to state universities 

Admissions of Students - Undergraduate Courses 

Admission to universities is based on a highly competitive examination, the General Certificate in Education (Advanced Level) 
GCE(A/L) conducted by the Department of Examinations, Sri Lanka 

Admission of students to Universities/Higher Educational Institutions which come under
the purview of the UGC is being done on the basis of an admissions policy laid down from time to time by the University Grants Commission with the concurrence of the Government. 

Annually around 200,000 students sit for the GCE (A/L) examination and more than half of them are qualified for the university admissions. According to the places available in the state university sector around 22,000 are admitted to universities. However, that is
around 45 percent of the annual applications.  

Admissions of Students - Postgraduate Courses

The requirements and the Admission procedures for admission of students to postgraduate courses vary considerably depending on the university and the course of study. 

Note:  for detailed information refer UGC web site 

5.         Also, in addition to those state universities and recognized degree awarding
Institutions, there are many private institutions established  as BOI projects or under Company Act are engaged in providing higher education in collaboration with foreign

Student Exchange Programmes

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IORA Member States Students in

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Scholarships for IORA Member States

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Why study in

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List of Public/Private Universities for Foreign Students

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Student Health Facilities

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Distance Education

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Visa Requirements

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Exhibitions Calendar

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