Sri Lanka Gets USD 550M FDI Pledges After Promotion Tour in China

Following a visit in China at the start of September 2023, Sri Lanka Minister for Investment Promotion Dilum Amunugama bagged a number of contracts worth a total of USD 550 million. His visit coincided with the holding of the 23rd China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT), 5th Maritime Silk Road (MSR) International Cooperation Forum and the 2023 Sino-Lanka Investment and Economic Promotion Forum.

In all these events, Minister Dilum Amunugama delivered the keynote address and presented the key investment projects in Sri Lanka. He also had a meeting with the Communist Party Secretary and Governor of Fujian Province ZHAO Long.

Model of the New Port City of Colombo

The bulk of the investment, about USD 400 million, will go into the capital and Port City of Colombo and the rest will go to the other port city of Hambantota. Hambantota has been identified as a Freeport Zone whereby processing of raw materials for #LVA and re-export can be performed.

In particular, the Chinese expressed interest to set up a manufacturing facility for medical devices for export. In addition, an international university in the new Port City of Colombo is also envisaged and will be targeting foreign students.

Other than upgrading the port facilities in Colombo, the Chinese plan to set up a Special Economic Zone (#SEZ), an International Gem Trading and Auction Center as well as a Gemological Museum for traders and tourists. Indeed, tourism is a sector with huge potential given the high number of Chinese who go overseas for holidays each year.

Billboard at Hambantota Port

The deal over Hambantota has come under scrutiny for being a white elephant and for plunging Sri Lanka into unsustainable debt. Moreover, India has expressed concerns about the potential for China putting these ports, right on its doorstep, to military use.

Sri Lanka is a key transit node on the #BRI on the maritime route linking China to Middle-East and Europe. Thus, the China Merchants Port (CMPort) has partnered with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to invest nearly USD 2 billion in order to transform the Colombo port into a #MaritimeHub.