Mini investment clubs to attract French funds to Sri Lanka | Daily News

Mini investment clubs to attract French funds to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Ambassador to France, Buddhi Athauda.  Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe
Sri Lanka Ambassador to France, Buddhi Athauda. Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe

Sri Lanka is to launch mini investment clubs in France for the first time in a bid to promote investments to the island. Through these clubs, French investors can be offered investment projects that are available in Sri Lanka.

This novel concept is the brainchild of the newly appointed Sri Lanka Ambassador to France, Buddhi Athauda.

Speaking to Daily News Business, he stated that the change of the political culture in Sri Lanka has opened many opportunities for doing business with the Western world in the context where democracy, accountability and transparency have been strengthened which has led to improved social indicators. “These are the reasons for the lifting of the fishing ban and restitution of the GSP+ by the EU.”

Sri Lanka’s strategic geographical location has been of vital importance in conducting trade and investment from ancient times. Ambassador Athauda is of the view that this key factor for attracting foreign investors should be further consolidated in order to develop a competitive edge over the neighboring countries of the region.

He also highlighted that the proposed FTAs with a number of countries and the opportunities for development under the Western Megapolis and Port City projects are also steps taken in the right direction to boost investment and trade.

“With the investment friendly climate and with Sri Lanka becoming a middle income country, I think the time is ripe for us to source multiple investments from Europe and the West. It was with this in mind that I decided to launch ‘mini investment clubs’ in France for strategic sectors which are of high interest to Sri Lanka. At the same time the Sri Lankan diaspora is also being encouraged to invest in other regions of the country in addition to the North and East.”

Ambassador Athauda who is a high-end and cutting edge technology startup expert, is keen on the idea of putting a total package on the table for possible investors. While he intends to promote investment through the mini investment clubs, he will work with the relevant stakeholders in Sri Lanka obtain the necessary approvals and documentation.

‘The Embassy will play the role of matchmaker and be a one stop shop for French investors to identify opportunities and to complete necessary regulatory steps as required by Sri Lankan authorities as it was my experience that many investors from Europe do not want to waste a lot of time on approvals.’

The Embassy will also work with development banks to promote public private partnerships as well as opportunities for collaboration with the SME sector.

Ambassador Athauda identified shipping, transport, (light railways), megalopolis development, renewable energy, real estate, investment banking and leisure as the main sectors of interest for French investors.

Athauda holds a Master’s Degree in International Finance from the USA where he has lived for many years. He was one of the pioneering leaders in the development of the world’s first satellite mobile phone Iridium from USA.


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