ADB VP reaffirms Sri Lanka partnership | Sunday Observer

ADB VP reaffirms Sri Lanka partnership

State Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Eran Wickramaratne (left), and ADB VP Wencai Zhang launched ‘Sri Lanka-ADB Partnership: 1966–2016’ in Colombo last week.
State Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Eran Wickramaratne (left), and ADB VP Wencai Zhang launched ‘Sri Lanka-ADB Partnership: 1966–2016’ in Colombo last week.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is reaffirming its long-term partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka to continue helping the country achieve its development goals, ADB Vice-President Wencai Zhang said during an event in Colombo to celebrate 50 years of ties between the ADB and Sri Lanka.

A publication, ‘Sri Lanka-ADB Partnership: 1966–2016’, was jointly launched at the event by State Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Eran Wickramaratne and Zhang.

The book traces the history of ADB’s projects in the country and how the organisation has contributed in strengthening Sri Lanka’s economy.

The book depicts the full range of Sri Lanka-ADB projects, including agriculture, industry, infrastructure, and education, chronicling a significant part of the country’s development journey as it moves toward becoming an upper middle-income country.

“As one of the founding member countries, Sri Lanka played a pivotal role in ADB’s establishment in 1966,” said Zhang. ADB’s first loan to Sri Lanka was approved in 1968 to help modernize tea factories.

Since then, ADB has been one of Sri Lanka’s largest development partners, providing more than $8.9 billion in loans, technical assistance, and grants as of October 2017. Over the past 50 years, the ADB has helped upgrade vital infrastructure, improve education and skills-based training, and prepare and implement reconstruction in conflict and tsunami-affected areas.

The ADB has also supported growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, development of agriculture and natural resources, and the management of the public sector. The book launch was organized by the ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission, which also celebrates 20 years since its establishment in October 1997. Key ADB partners in Sri Lanka including government officials, private sector representatives, development partners, members of the diplomatic community, and the media were also present.

Zhang also met with Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Finance and Mass Media and ADB Governor for Sri Lanka Mangala Samaraweera, and key government officials, discussing the newly approved Country Partnership Strategy for 2018–2022.

Copies of the newly published Employment Diagnostic Study ‘Sri Lanka: Fostering Workforce Skills Through Education’ were presented to the President and Minister of Finance and Mass Media during the bilateral meetings.

This study examines labor market issues such as improving the economy’s skill base and challenges arising from an aging population, and offers solutions specific to Sri Lanka. 

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