IFC affirms commitment to inclusive growth, private sector development in Sri Lanka
Posted on February 24th, 2012

Press Release

Colombo, Sri Lanka, February 24, 2012 ƒÆ’‚¢”‚ƒ¢-¡‚¬ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, affirmed its commitment to take a more active role in promoting inclusive growth in Sri Lanka by working closely with the Government and the private sector.

On his first official visit to the country, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Lars Thunell met with the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the Honourable Basil Rajapaksa, Minister for Economic Development, where he reiterated IFC’s commitment to supporting private sector development.

“IFC sees great potential here and we are expecting a strong program for 2012, with a plan to increase our portfolio by $200 million. IFC is well placed to support the growth and development of the country,” explained Thunell after his meeting with His Excellency and the Honourable Minister.

“IFC offers experience in developing infrastructure projects as an advisor to the Government and as a financier to the private sector. We will also focus on the priority areas of access to finance, agriculture and tourism.” Thunell also shared with the President IFC’s ongoing assistance to the government in simplifying regulations and improving the investment climate to attract private investment.

In a meeting with the Secretary to the Treasury, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Thunell discussed IFC’s commitment to promoting public-private partnerships, increasing access to financial services and providing support to small businesses.  

During his meeting with Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank, Thunell thanked the Governor for his continued support on numerous IFC projects. He also noted the improvements in Sri Lanka’s ranking in the Doing Business indicators, and discussed how IFC can support further improvements to the investment climate.

During his visit, Thunell also met with micro and small business owners in the South and North during field tours.

In the South, Thunell interacted with tourism entrepreneurs and representatives, to discuss the opportunities and challenges of operating in this sector. The entrepreneurs expressed their appreciation for IFC’s involvement in the tourism sector, and explained how IFC’s interventions have continued to be sustainable; much after IFC’s involvement was over.

He also held several discussions with the leaders of the private and financial sectors in the country to explore opportunities for IFC to further expand its program.

Sri Lanka is a focus country for IFC’s program in South Asia.  IFC’s committed portfolio of $200 million in the country covers projects across a range of sectors””‚including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, banking, and health care. IFC also provides advisory support to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance and offering capacity-building and training opportunities.

Thunell was joined on his visit to Sri Lanka by IFC Director for South Asia, Tom Davenport.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities””‚all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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