The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia commits US$ 300 million for Sri Lanka’s development agenda
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has reportedly committed US$ 300 million for Sri Lanka’s development programme. Saudi Arabia also stands as the largest employer of Sri Lankans outside of Sri Lanka.
“Relations between KSA and Sri Lanka are excellent and are based on mutual respect and joint cooperation. KSA commits to projects in Sri Lanka through the Saudi Fund for Development,”
Ambassador of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Sri Lanka, Abdulnaser H. O. Al Harthi has said.
He has made this observation at the 88th National Day celebration of KSA in Colombo.
“The total funds guaranteed by the Saudi Fund for Development to Sri Lanka reaches nearly US $ 300 Mn in various sectors-health, education, water supply, irrigation, agriculture and road development. The Kingdom also accommodates nearly 200,000 skilled Sri Lankan workers,” Harthi has said.
According to reports, among the leading KSA funded Projects in Sri Lanka are the Epilepsy Hospital in Colombo, the Kaluganga Development, Badulla- Chenkaladi Road Improvement, the Road Network Development, Wayamba University Township Development, and the Kaluganga River Left Bank Development Project.
Representing the government of Sri Lanka as the Chief Guest, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has hailed bilateral ties since 1974.
“I wish to recognize the support and solidarity extended to Sri Lanka by the KSA in the multilateral fora. KSA stands as the 23rd import partner in the Sri Lankan market while Sri Lanka is ranked as the 82nd import partner in the Saudi Arabian market. In the last three year period from 2014 to 2017, Sri Lanka’s total trade with Saudi Arabia was around US$ 215 million annually. Sri Lanka’s major export to Saudi Arabia has been Ceylon Tea. Last year Ceylon Tea exports to Saudi Arabia were at US$ 27 Million accounting for 36% of the total exports to Saudi Arabia. We believe that there are great trade potentials between both countries that have not been exploited and it is now time that we should exploit these potentials jointly.”
The commitment of US$ 300 million by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards Sri Lanka’s development programme is indicative of the close ties maintained between the two countries. Apart from being the largest employer of Sri Lankan migrant workers, Saudi Arabia also imports a large quantity of Sri Lankan tea. The two countries have been engaged in trade activities for many decades. Therefore, Saudi companies could explore possibilities of doing business with Sri Lankan entities and vice versa.
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