Sri Lanka urged to tap diaspora investments

ECONOMYNEXT – The government should adopt a more focused approach to attract investments from Sri Lankans living abroad with special incentive schemes and a ‘one-stop-shop’ for diaspora investors, International Alert said.

The London-based conflict-prevention non-governmental organisation said that with nearly three million Sri Lankans living across the world (about 14% of the country’s population) Sri Lanka’s diaspora-to-population ratio is known as one of the highest in the South Asian region.

“The diaspora has the ability to enhance and build relations that can either positively or negatively impact on their country of origin,” IA said in a new report. “They also have the potential to play a significant role in peacebuilding, reconciliation and recovery.”

The report, a "Roadmap for Engagement with Overseas Sri Lankans", meant to guide policymakers and the private sector, said overseas Sri Lankans could play a big role in social and economic development and skills and knowledge transfer.

Its key recommendations include encouraging a role for the diaspora in addressing poverty and educational challenges, strengthening the process of remittances, and facilitating ease of mobility for investors through special incentive schemes.

IA also suggested using diplomatic missions to help develop business linkages, opening up avenues for overseas Sri Lankan capital to fund sustainable investments, creating temporary return programmes for skilled tourism, and having an information portal in the form of a ‘one-stop-shop’ to act as a hub for diaspora investors.
(COLOMBO, July 14, 2016)