With an economy worth $64 billion (2012 IMF estimate) ($170 billion PPP estimate), and a per capita GDP of about $7900 (PPP), Sri Lanka has mostly had strong growth rates in recent years. In GDP per capita terms, it is ahead of other countries in the South Asian region.

The main economic sectors of the country are tourism, tea export, apparel, textile, rice production and other agricultural products. In addition to these economic sectors, overseas employment contributes highly in foreign exchange, 90% of expatriate Sri Lankans reside in the Middle East.

Since becoming independent from Britain in February 1948, the economy of the country has been affected by natural disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and a number of insurrections, such as the 1971, the 1987-89 and the 1983-2009 civil war. The parties which ruled the country after 1948 did not implement any national plan or policy on the economy, veering between left and right wing economic practices. The government during 1970-77 period applied pro-left economic policies and practices. Between 1977 and 1994 the country came under UNP rule and between 1994 and 2004 under SLFP rule. Both of these parties applied pro-right policies. In 2001, Sri Lanka faced bankruptcy, with debt reaching 101% of GDP. The impending currency crisis was averted after the country reached a hasty ceasefire agreement with the LTTE and brokered substantial foreign loans. After 2004 the UPFA government has concentrated on mass production of goods for domestic consumption such as rice, grain and other agricultural products.

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