Talks Focus on Foreign Investment, Tourism and Peaceful Security Situation in Sri Lanka

Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal addresses the members of the Asia Society. Also in the picture
(Left to Right) Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Asia Society Executive Director Jack Garrity.

Governor Cabraal in conversation with Asia Society invitees

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the USA hosted an Asia Society Ambassador’s Series discussion of Sri Lanka’s economy, tourism and reconciliation with Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

During the hour long discussion with nearly 100 members of the Asia Society, Gov. Cabraal explained that Sri Lanka is “open for business,” and that post-conflict development is proceeding on schedule.

“My driving force is to bring Sri Lanka to a different plane, a different stage in our development,” Gov. Cabraal said. “We are open for business, and now we can say we are truly in a new era.”

The discussion was held at the official residence of Ambassador. During the talk Ambassador Wickramasuriya noted the embassy was working to develop U.S. investment in Sri Lanka projects, as well as to strengthen Sri Lanka-U.S. relations.

Asia Society Executive Director Jack Garrity cited the hopeful signs of Sri Lanka’s peace and progress since the conflict against terrorists ended a year ago this month.

Gov. Cabraal reminded the audience that Sri Lanka maintained a positive growth economy throughout the later stages of its conflict against terrorism, despite unsettling attacks and the sheer cost of military operations.

With the conflict over and no security issues for a year, he said, foreign investors are showing keen interest in Sri Lanka’s potential.

Gov. Cabraal said, “We are now able to tell you that we have benign inflation, our interest rates are reasonable, we have reserves that will take us through at least six months and we have infrastructure development at levels that we’ve never had before.”

Gov. Cabraal discussed a number of redevelopment efforts in the north, and the very recent phenomena of the northern and eastern provinces providing a larger share of Sri Lanka’s overall economic output.

He said the “fruits of development, as well as the peace dividend,” is “trickling down to all sectors of the population.”

A number of guests stated that they had visited Sri Lanka and were curious to know what the government was doing to promote tourism.

Gov. Cabraal replied that tourist visits to Sri Lanka have increased dramatically since last year, and that a number of hoteliers and other tourism industry businesses were anxious to open up shop in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, Asia’s oldest democracy, has recently been noted by several top travel publications, including The New York Times, National Geographic and the Dailycandy.com luxury living website, as a top tourist destination in 2010.

Following the discussion, Asia Society the guests enjoyed traditional Sri Lankan food.

Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of the United States and Asia.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

15 May 2010



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