Sri Lanka has rises to the ‘Upper-Middle Income’ category from the ‘Lower-Middle Income’ under a revision to the Gross National Income (GNI) classification thresholds . According to the World Bank data, Sri Lanka’s GNI per capita has increased from USD 3,840 in 2017 to USD 4,060 in 2018. As per the new classifications, upper-middle income economies are defined as those with a GNI per capita between USD 3,996 and USD 12,375.Low-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of USD 1,025 or less in 2018, lower-middle income economies are those with a GNI per capita between USD 1,026 and USD 3,995 and high income economies are those with a GNI per capita of USD 12,376 or more.
Under the new categorization, Sri Lanka is in the upper-middle income bracket along with 59 other countries also including China, Russian Federation, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico Fiji, Cuba and Brazil. Argentina, Georgia and Kosovo too have been newly upgraded to the status of an upper-middle income country along with Sri Lanka. According to the World Bank classification, 31 countries have lower income economies and 47 countries have lower-middle income economies. Eighty countries have been qualified to the high income economy group.
“New thresholds are determined at the start of the World Bank’s fiscal year in July and remain fixed for 12 months regardless of subsequent revisions to estimates,” the World Bank Data Team announced. “Until last year, the income classifications had an analytical purpose and did not influence the World Bank’s lending terms. However, since the last fiscal year, the high-income threshold is also a determining factor for lending rates. Surcharges are applied for lending rates of countries which have been categorized as high income for two consecutive years,” it further stated. In the South Asian region, only Sri Lanka and the Maldives come under the upper-middle income group, where as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar and Pakistan come under the lower-middle income group and Afghanistan and Nepal come under the low-income group.