Vast potential for closer ties with Sri Lanka to boost bilateral investments, Standard Chartered Bank says
Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Malaysia has reportedly stated that there was vast potential for closer ties with Sri Lanka to boost bilateral investment and trade.
The statement was made in reference to the recent visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to Sri Lanka.
Malaysia until a few years ago remained Sri Lanka’s biggest investor with a portfolio of over US$ 3 billion in 47 projects, with the flagship among these being telecom giant Dialog Axiata. Sri Lanka and Malaysia’s bilateral trade is currently around US$ 700 million.
“We see lot of potential for greater trade and investments between Malaysia and Sri Lanka. This visit is part of concerted efforts to explore new opportunities and how we can facilitate our customers in both countries,” Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad, Managing Director and CEO, Abrar A. Anwar has told the Daily FT.
“There could be more Axiata-type investments and companies like Dialog,” Anwar has added,
Anwar was a member of the Malaysian business delegation accompanying Premier Najib.
Anwar has said Malaysia, which is growing at over 6%, is 24th in the world in terms of its external trade, which is worth US$ 420 billion with a trade surplus estimated to be US$ 20 billion in FY 2017/18.
By 2020 Malaysia will also graduate to being a high-income nation.
According to him, prospects remain high on Malaysian investments and expertise on socioeconomic infrastructure development, energy, services, technology, education and Fast Moving Consumer Goods.
The optimism from SCB is significant since it was Malaysia’s first ever commercial bank, set up 143 years ago, whilst the leading international banking giant has an extensive presence across Asia, Africa and the Middle East with a 150-year history. It also has an active presence in 45 countries within China’s Belt and Road Initiative which the Bank is aggressively promoting.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank Sri Lanka CEO Jim McCabe has said the high-profile visit by the Malaysian Premier and business delegation was not all about signing deals or transactions but engagement, dialogue and learning from the success of the Southeast Asian nation.
“More conversations mean greater learning,” he has added.
“Sri Lanka need not fear to engage with other countries, especially in Asia because there is lot to learn and, if explored properly, plenty of opportunities to grow and take Sri Lankan individual businesses and industries to the next level,” McCabe has observed.
He has also asserted that there was greater scope for more trade and investment between Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
Both SCB officials have said that the present was the ideal time to explore greater bilateral ties.
Anwar said that among the key learnings from Malaysia for Sri Lanka were greater public-private partnerships, opening up for more FDIs, enhancing capacities and anticipating or predicting the future properly and adjusting and aligning policies to harness future growth.
The statement by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Malaysia that there is a vast potential for closer ties with Sri Lanka to boost bilateral investment and trade is a vote of confidence in the island nation. Building closer ties with SCB would also increase the investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
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