Pray for Sri Lanka As It Experiences Severe Economic Crisis
Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia, is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis since its independence in 1948.
The visible manifestations are: Severe shortages of food, fuel, medicines and other essential commodities, long queues at groceries and supply stores, power outages for 10-14 hours in most parts of the country, hospitals unable to respond to non-emergency health needs, schools closed and examinations postponed, people out of work, demonstrations of public anger, and long curfews.
Many blame the crisis on a number of economic missteps by successive governments and also on misfortunes. The severe drought in 2017 was followed by the impact of Easter bombings in 2019, then COVID-19 and along with that, the consequent loss of income through tourism and remittances, and the recent war in Ukraine. In addition, the short sightedness of the government through lavish tax cuts for the rich, excessive spending on infrastructure development by with borrowed money, and abrupt imposition of organic farming that reduced food production.
All this led to a 70% drop in foreign reserves and the consequent currency devaluation and inflation, which now stands at a record high of 17.5%. Sri Lanka has $51 billion in foreign debt. But it only has $2.3 billion in reserves, and it needs $4 billion to service its debt. It is approaching IMF for a bail out, and this process may take longer before it makes a difference on the ground.
Christians are a minority in Sri Lanka. All churches and their members along with the rest are deeply impacted by this economic crisis that comes on the heels of the devastating pandemic. Global Ministries’ partners in Sri Lanka are the Church of American Ceylon Mission and the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka. Global Ministries is making efforts to accompany these partners as they respond to the crisis by offering support to the most marginalized.