Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5 billion $s a year or more to Sri Lanka from the Sri Lankan diaspora?

The following is a part of a comment I left at my Agnostics vs. Believers article at Groundviews, an off-the-topic statement, but, some think (myself included) that it may be a worthwhile/useful thing to think about & possibly even try out. So, check out the following and post some questions or comments in comments to help further develop this idea:

"Also, a sad but true, and maybe there is some hope in this/may be useful in the near future thing that I figured out recently (roughly): it would only take a small, regular commitment by just a fraction of the SL diaspora that lives in the west to double or triple the SL GDP/make a LOT more $s available to SL for development, etc (a small example – 500,000 people giving/investing/trading $1000 a year to SL would result in 5 billion dollars, and $1000 when divided into a whole year is just less than $3 a day per person – which is definitely less than what I spend on coffee & tea each day). In a way, for SL to become largely financially self-sufficient (in this type of thinking I am imagining all Sri Lankans who live anywhere on the planet as one nation/SL or members of one nation though they may also be members of other nations due to where they physically live, & not just the ones that physically live in SL). However, such a thing would require a pretty huge change between how Lankans in SL & Lankans in the diaspora relate to each other (& also how the SL gov deals with both groups). Perhaps something for me/us (at least the agnostics, who are not afraid of change & new ideas) to think further about (as in how can such a new collaboration be brought about?)."

- S

2 comments:

SomewhatDisgusted said...

Sujewa,

Apologies for the delay. Must free up a bit of time for this. Just a few quick observations.

1. I can understand that 1st gen Sri Lankans would be willing to contribute. What is your opinion on the 2nd gen? My feeling is that ties with the home country are quite weak?

2. As you said, the biggest issue will be transparency and good incentives. Most professional simply do not trust the govt. enough to entrust their money to them (I certainly don't). An alternative, *trustworthy*, race/religion free setup which is extremely transparent, is needed.

cheers,
/SD

The Sujewa said...

Hey SD,

No prob. re: the slight delay (really, no delay at all).

Re: your observations:

1. 2nd Gen SL's (at least the ones I know) will most likely want to help out also, provided that the money will be used well.
Also, getting them involved w/ such an "assist SL" project could help them revive (sp?) or develop new, stronger ties to SL (which may be useful to them & also SL for the future).

2. Yup, whatever org or collection of orgs that handle collection & disbursement of donations will have to be 150% free of corruption. There may already be such groups active in SL & diaspora. We would of course want to try to work with the gov (i am sure not everyone who works for the SL gov is corrupt), also existing institutions in SL & diaspora - including religious ones (everyone is welcome to help out at long as the work gets done w/ out corruption.

Some related thoughts:

- some stuff to figure out:
-- what exactly (in numbers, $s) is poverty in Sri Lanka?
-- how much money per day does a Lankan in SL need to survive well per day - $5? $10? $20?
-- of course we have to define what "survive" in a positive sense means in the Sl context
-- if we were to establish a certain $ figure as the poverty line in SL, how much money would it take to keep everyone above that line in SL - per year?
-- the ultimate goal is not just to donate money to SL, but to make SL financially self-sufficient/independent (as much as possible in this modern financially interconnected world); so, what needs to be done in SL in order to accomplish that goal (better education? more education? assistant to small business start ups? introducing the concept of entrepnuership to everyone on the island?) - questions along those lines need to be answered.
::
This is definitely a doable project - and once it is done in SL, we can use the lessons learned to help other countries get out of poverty/eliminate poverty - even the developed countries.

::

Another thing to do (or probably will happen through this project automatically) is to improve communication among like minded SL related people in the Western diaspora & of course rest of SL diaspora in the world - including wealthy/capable/driven folks in SL itself (or just even regular SL folks who want to help out).

::

I think one underlying cause for much of the problems in SL since '48 on is poverty & underdevelopment. If our generation can either get SL out of poverty or set things up so that SL is on the path to getting out of poverty, the future for SL will be a better one.

So it's brainstorming time, let's come up w/ ideas, follow up, see what's already up & running, see how we can help, & see what new institutions need to be established.

- S

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