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Country Profile: Sri Lanka at a glance


The lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves—symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country—stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness and equanimity.


Country’s name (the long version): Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu

Country’s name (the short version): Sri Lanka

Former name: Ceylon

Location: Island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

Number of provinces: 9

Size: Slightly larger than West Virginia

Capital: Colombo

Legislative capital: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte

Environment: One of 25 biodiversity hotspots in world (diverse animal and plant-heavy area that is under threat from humans)

Time zone: UTC+05:30


Official language: Sinhala (10% of population speak English, and it’s commonly used in government matters)

Religions: Buddhist, 70%; Hindu, 12; Muslim 10%

Legal system: Mixed system combining Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law and local, Jaffna Tamil customary law

Population: 22 million

Median age: 32 years

Adult obesity: 6.8%

Literacy rate for adults over 15: 93%


Unemployment for youth: 15-24: 20%

GDP (official exchange rate): $82.1 billion

Labor force: 8.9 million

Percentage of labor force in service sector: 46%

Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Country internet code: .lk

Internet users: 6.6 million (about 30% of population by 2015 estimate)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Ease of doing business ranking: 107

Potential red flag: Policy impeding the investment climate is a prohibition on selling land to foreign investors (U.S. embassy)

Positive sign for investment: Government’s pursuing large-scale reconstruction and development projects to spur growth in war-torn and disadvantaged areas  


U.S. Embassy: Phone: +94 (11)249-8500

Fax: +94 (11) 243-7345

AMCHAM (American Chamber of Commerce): Telephone, +94 11 2300116; email: info@amcham.lk; website, www.amcham.lk

Registrar General of Companies: registar@drc.gov.lk; call: 94-11-2689208

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives: Atul Keshap

Sources: CIA Factbook, World Bank Group, Wikipedia, Internet, Doing Business in Sri Lanka

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