Says both countries should brace for geopolitical risks in 2024
Opines restructuring external debt will be crucial for SL this year
Urges SL to fight corruption seriously and shore up investor confidence
By Sanath Nanayakkare
Reliable and trustworthy Sri Lankan businesses that share the same ethical and compliance standards with German industry leaders have the potential of attracting more German investments to Sri Lanka, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Colombo, Dr. Felix Neumann said in Colombo recently.
“German investors are here in Sri Lanka for the long haul and have stood by Sri Lanka during good times and bad,” he noted.
“The other day, I was at the opening ceremony of the assembly plant between DIMO and Siemens. The two companies share the same ethical and compliance standards. As a result, they have built a trustworthy relationship over several decades, paving the way for an investment by Siemens in DIMO Sri Lanka,” he said elaborating on the point.
The German Ambassador made these comments during a New Year’s reception hosted by The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka) at the Taj Samudra Hotel Colombo.
Addressing the industry leaders and professionals who took part in the annual AHK event, the German Ambassador said:
“I am pleased to address AHK Sri Lanka’s New Year reception 2024. This event is bringing together the community that is doing business in Sri Lanka with Germany. We must not forget that 2024 will be a challenging year too not only in Sri Lanka but also in Germany. Nevertheless, whilst geopolitical events may impact both countries and the global economy, we must remain optimistic and resilient in facing these challenges. Germany has been supportive of Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and debt restructuring efforts, however there is still more to be done.”
“Whilst good progress has been made, we are hopeful that Sri Lanka can secure the required MoUs that will provide concrete guarantees in restructuring its external debt. This will be a crucial aspect in 2024. One of the anticipated challenges may be a further decrease in global demand for consumer goods which will impact economies such as Sri Lanka.”
“Looking at the trade figures, in 2023, from January to October exports to the European Union (EU) decreased by approximately 12 % to nearly 2,3 million US$. During this period exports to Germany valued at approximately 500 million USD. A decrease of 23%. Imports from Germany had a volume of approximately 200 million USD. We realize that Sri Lanka is one of the few countries with a surplus making business with Germany. Yet, this surplus needs to be developed in 2024. And the decrease should turn into an increase.”
“Germany wishes to see a successful Sri Lanka reaching its full potential. For this, we need to have consistent policies, cut red tape, fight corruption seriously and shore up investor confidence. The expectation of a level playing field, respect for rule of law and anti-corruption measures will see more new investments coming into Sri Lanka.”
Making his concluding remarks, the Ambassador manifestly referring to the thriving partnership between Siemens and DIMO said,” These are the kind of success stories that I am hopeful of hearing more in 2024, and I would be very happy to support such success stories because a prosperous Sri Lanka is what Germany wants as much as you do.”