ECONOMYNEXT – Emerging markets investor Mark Mobius said he would invest in real estate, financial services where there was potential in fintech and tourism in Sri Lanka.
“I bought one of the apartments and I can come and live sometime here,” Mobius told a forum in Colombo organized by Cinnamon Life, real estate project promoted by John Keells Holdings.
“It is lot better to live here than Singapore because I have an apartment here.”
He said fintech had potential provided regulatory barriers were removed.
In Kenya, he said Safaricom, a mobile telecom operators had transformed the country by providing money transfer facilities to millions of customers who had no banking facilities.
Saaricom is a privatized state state enterprise which was initially sold to Vodafone and then listed on the stock exchange.
Mobius said Safaricom was able to help Kenyans ‘leapfrog’ into fintech because there were no regulations to stop the company.
In Sri Lanka however the central bank tightly regulates the financial sector and an attempt to set up a second clearing system recently was also blocked.
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Mobius said Sri Lanka’s tourism sector also had enormous potential, with India close by and the country having good relations with China.
The two countries had the biggest populations of the world who were now starting to travel abroad and Sri Lanka had the potential to draw 10 million tourists he said.
Mobius said Sri Lanka had potential to grow if the right policies were followed and economic freedom was given.
But the fastest growing countries in the near future would be in Africa, which had a lot of catch up growth to do, he said. (Colombo/Dec10/2019)