Innovators’ Forum Inaugural Review | Sunday Observer

Innovators’ Forum Inaugural Review

19 February, 2023

Today Sri Lanka is embroiled in a multi-dimensional toxic mix of economic and political complications. Successive governments over the past couple of decades, chose to use its foreign exchange earnings to provide goods to its domestic market, without pursuing an export oriented economic policy. Thus, the export market remained static, while the expenditure on imports kept rising, increasing the balance of trade gap. Its impact was cushioned only by the foreign exchange earned by remittances from abroad and tourism. This unhealthy economic situation was further intensified by the policies of the previous regimes which aggravated the situation further.

Massive infrastructure projects were undertaken at exorbitant costs, without proper checks and balances, pushing the Government expenditure to unmanageable levels.


That is not all, the State-owned enterprises have been collectively sustaining losses for several decades, adding a further burden to the taxpayers. In addition, the absence of good governance which is the backbone of any economy, has progressively contributed to the current devastating economic situation. The country is now confronted with the arduous task of grappling with a crippled economy with soaring inflation, rising commodity prices, shortages of food, power, fuel, and medicine, coupled with a heavy debt burden exacerbated by political turmoil.

Within this context, clear thinking, a proper understanding of the forces at work and practical, sustainable, scientifically formulated solutions, are the need of the hour. Above all unity of purpose among policymakers, thought leaders, professionals, academics, relevant government and private sector officials and the public are crucial to overcome the challenges and put the country back on track towards peace and prosperity.

The Gamani Corea Foundation has decided to take the initiative to meaningfully contribute towards resolving these complex issues. Its objective is to study through in-depth research and dialogue, core sectors riddled with that need to be resolved, and formulate practical, scientifically based solutions to lift Sri Lanka out of this economic quagmire.


The Gamani Corea Foundation founded by Deshamanya Dr. Gamani Corea is an autonomous, non-profit charitable institution. One of its main objectives is to contribute to the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka through multi-disciplinary high-quality research. Based on the above premise the Foundation decided to set up the Sri Lanka Innovators’ Forum (SLIF) to bring together like-minded subject specialists to discuss, debate and agree on pressing issues on a variety of topics and formulate alternative, sustainable, economic models, processes, and practices.

The SLIF will transcend borders and other barriers and invite specialists from all over the world with a genuine desire to contribute their expertise and share their knowledge to salvage Sri Lanka from its current predicament. The processes adopted will be geared towards being effective, efficient, timely, environmentally friendly, and politically neutral, cutting across class, sector, and nationality. It will go beyond the current practice of innovations in isolated areas and try to find meaningful solutions to a plethora of issues by adopting a more holistic approach.

The SLIF will endeavour to broaden and strengthen helpful alliances while creating good relations among networks, organisations, and groups in Sri Lanka and abroad. Coordinated initiatives will be launched to strengthen each sector to take the program forward. The innovators forum will also act as a strong lobby to drive the political will and momentum to promote an effective development agenda.

Twenty subjects have been identified and assigned to specialists in each category to write issues papers which will highlight the issues under investigation and provide practical, scientifically formulated solutions. A set of advisors are assigned to review the issues papers and give guidance and relevant research data to the authors.

Critical issues

This process will highlight the critical issues faced by the selected sectors with a view to finding pragmatic solutions through the ardent support from a network of qualified academics, expats, industry specialists and investors.

The final refined papers will be uploaded to the Sri Lanka Innovator’s forum website of the Gamani Corea Foundation ( to provide a space for comments and suggestions. This discourse will strengthen the issues papers and the final refined document will be published for consideration and relevant action by policymakers.

The Inaugural Review of the Sri Lanka Innovators’ Forum will be held on February 24, 2023, at 2.30 p.m. at the BMICH, under the patronage of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, industry experts, foreign dignitaries, academics and relevant public and private sector representatives and funding agencies.