Ranil to discuss Sri Lanka’s investment priorities during Singapore visit


by Zacki Jabbar

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to undertake a three-day official visit to Singapore commencing later this week.

Saman Athaudahetti Additional Secretary ( Media) at the Prime Ministers office told The Island yesterday that Wickremesinghe, during his visit, would also be delivering the key note speech at the 3rd South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) to be held at the Raffles City Convention Center on July 18.

The Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hisen Loong and Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam would also address the Convention, he added.

A Conference Spokesperson said that Wickremesinghe would discuss Sri Lanka’s growth model, investment priorities and share his aspirations on partnerships with Singapore and South Asia to fulfil Sri Lanka’s "Wonder of Asia" vision. "He will also share the challenges which his country faces in the pursuit of this vision and consider how these challenges may require innovative regional solutions beyond the nation."

According to the World Bank, South Asia is the fastest growing region in the world. Though India has a substantial share in it, other nations are also seeing significant GDP growth.

The conference programme describes Sri Lanka as the pivotal point for a global grand strategy of major powers like the United States, China and India. "The centrality of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean is also imperative for its growth and investments.It lies only a few nautical miles away from the East-West shipping route which enjoys immense ship traffic. An estimated 60,000 ships pass the country every year, carrying two-thirds of the world’s oil and half of all container shipments. Sri Lanka’s geography gives it an advantage disproportionate to its size."

The 3rd South Asian Diaspora Convention is expected to bring together 1,000 distinguished guests and more than 50 of the region’s leading policymakers and business leaders, academics and civil society leaders. The speakers are billed to discuss and debate critical topics in business, economy and policy that would affect the region’s future and its role in global geopolitics in the 21st century.

It would also broach critical aspects relating to the geo-economic and geo-political challenges affecting South Asia and the world such as the key engines of growth in South Asia at a time of global economic slowdown, the extent to which its growth is sustainable and the opportunities available for both global corporates and small and medium enterprises to benefit,how the regions’ economies could further open up to international trade, investment and finance and improve its prospects for the acquisition of modern technology and how a more integrated and connected South Asia could expand the capacity of individual economies in the region.

Questions such as South Asia’s future being the world’s as well and how China’s growing presence in the region would impact on business and trade have also been listed for debate.

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