Seven years after the end of a devastating civil war, Sri Lanka's northern province lags behind the rest of the country on economic development, and the catch-up process is proving long and tough.
The United Nations estimates about 40,000 people were killed in the 26-year civil war between the government and a separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). International observers accuse both factions of human rights abuses during the conflict, which was born from years of state discrimination against the ethnic Tamil minority.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the nation's top priorities were promoting reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction in conflict-hit areas, as well as bolstering democracy—challenges that are directly related to the north, highlighting just how crucial the province is to national development.
But progress on those fronts has been mixed so far.