6 August, 2020

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WikiLeaks: Sri Lanka MCC Scorecard For 2007 Delivered; “Investing In People” Stats Understate Reality 

“Post urges that Sri Lanka continue as an MCC-eligible country,” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked US diplomatic cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable was written by then US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake.

Ambassador Blake said: “It has achieved admirable results for a Lower Income Country in the ‘Investing in People’ subcategories, despite negative statistics covered on the FY07 scorecard. Sri Lanka’s good health and educational status, with long life expectancy, high literacy rates and almost universal enrollment of girls through primary school and into higher education, indicate that it is achieving desired results, although perhaps more economically than some other countries.”

We publish below the cable in full:

1. SUMMARY: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Scorecard results were delivered to officials at the Ministry of Planning and Implementation. Officials paid particular attention to the below-median statistics listed in the Investing in People category, and asked Embassy to forward relevant information pertaining to Sri Lanka’s performance results and high primary school attendance. END SUMMARY.

2. DCM and EconOff met with Ms. Dhara Wijayatilake, Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Implementation and Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy, Director, Department of Foreign Aid and Budget Monitoring of the same ministry regarding Sri Lanka’s MCC Scorecard.

3. The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) officials were especially concerned to learn of the potential impact of the three below-median results in the “Investing in People” category (i.e., leading to a technical ineligibility). They, along with the Embassy, believe that for these particular categories, the measurements belie the reality in Sri Lanka. Due to the successful performance of Sri Lanka in health and education, GSL officials believe that Sri Lanka should be deemed to pass the “Investing in People” category. SRI LANKA’S HEALTH CARE RESULTS ARE GOOD

4. The Health Expenditures measurement, as reported by the World Health Organization per the scorecard, falls just below the median score. While this measurement pertains to GDP invested in health care, measurements about the actual health of Sri Lankans (measured by infant mortality of 16 per 1,000 and life expectancy of 73 years, per World Bank statistics) indicate that the health situation in Sri Lanka is quite good. SRI LANKA’S PRIMARY EDUCATION ENROLLMENT AND RESULTS ARE EXCELLENT; ENROLLMENT OF GIRLS AT 95 PERCENT

5. Despite falling below the median in Primary Education Expenditures, Sri Lanka’s enrollment and literacy rates are commendable. As indicated in the letter below, Sri Lanka’s enrollment of primary school-age boys is 97.1 percent, while for primary school-age girls, it is 95.6 percent. LETTER RECEIVED PROVIDING PERTINENT EDUCATION STATISTICS

6. The Ministry forwarded the following letter to the DCM regarding Sri Lanka’s academic statistics. While the statistics do not fit the exact parameters of the UNESCO and World Bank figures, they should be sufficient to determine that Sri Lankan children are in school, and that girls are not significantly underrepresented.

BEGIN LETTER:

Dear James Moore,

MCC Score Card for Sri Lanka – 2007

I refer to the discussion you had with Secretary, Ministry of Plan Implementation today on the above subject. As agreed at the Meeting, I am pleased to inform you that the indicator for investing in people – the Girls Primary Education Completion Rate is very impressive in Sri Lanka.

The Net Enrollment Ratio (NER), the indicator of participation in primary education, is defined as the percentage of official primary school age children who enrolled in primary school. The NER is computed for two age groups: 6-10 years and 11-14 years for 2002 and the data is given below: Net Enrollment Ratio: 6-10 years Male – 97.1 percent Female – 95.6 percent 11-14 years Male – 93.5 percent Female – 96.3 percent

These rates when compared with what has been achieved in developed countries such as USA (92.7 percent) appears to be highly impressive. The proportion of pupils starting Grade 1 who reach Grade 5 both males and females are given below: Male – 94.7 Female – 96.5

You may note that these rates are also very good and indicates (sic) that performance of girls are (more) impressive than boys.

I am also attaching you the relevant pages of the Millennium Development Goals in Sri Lanka – A Statistical Review 2006 published by the Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka which highlights these achievements.

Accordingly, I would kindly request you to make necessary changes in the draft score card (sic) be discussed in the MCC Decision Making Forum to reflect the reality.

Thanks and Best regards,

V. Sivagnanasothy Director Department of Foreign Aid and Budget Monitoring Ministry of Plan Implementation

END LETTER

7. COMMENT: Post urges that Sri Lanka continue as an MCC-eligible country. It has achieved admirable results for a Lower Income Country in the “Investing in People” subcategories, despite negative statistics covered on the FY07 scorecard. Sri Lanka’s good health and educational status, with long life expectancy, high literacy rates and almost universal enrollment of girls through primary school and into higher education, indicate that it is achieving desired results, although perhaps more economically than some other countries.

BLAKE

 

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Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    Shameless Rajapakshes go on fooling the very same nation again and again.
    :
    The very same gaping folks rally round to support him. What a leader, What a nation ?

    People in Srilanka are easy to manipulative even going beyond some parts of India.

    So long, people s vulnerability would remain, Rajakashes could live up their propensities. That is the Karma of the people.

  • 3
    1

    During last stages of UNP Government, US ambassador made statement saying Sr Lanka should sign MCC grant immediately as once the country is elevated to middle income country it will not be eligible to take the grant. Since then we have become middle income earning country.
    Now current Mahinda goverment stay critical of MCC in order to get votes over opposition by playing foreign invasion card to please our nationalist ignorant people.
    They will sign the MCC after the election and people will be told that they amended the agreement to be suitable our pseudo patriotic people.
    If they think it is harmful to the country why can’t they reject it outright before the election?
    Also why USA is so keen to give this grant to Sri Lanka while most Sri Lankans are skeptical about it’s intention?
    Few centuries ago Portuguese , Dutch and English came here to do business and rules us brutality for about 300 years.
    Now Chinese , Indians and Americans are very keen to do Business with us.
    Why, they may be feeling very sorry for poor us, Sri Lankans.

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