SINGAPORE: International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development (MoMWD) of Sri Lanka signed an agreement to collaborate on business development in Sri Lanka's Western Region Megapolis on Monday (Jul 18).
In a media release, IE Singapore said the MOU was the first between Sri Lanka and a Singapore government agency, paving the way for "stronger Singapore-Sri Lanka investment and economic partnerships".
This comes on the same day that both countries announced the launch of negotiations for a Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
The Western Region in Sri Lanka is the main driver of the country's economy, contributing to 40 per cent of its total Gross Domestic Product in 2014. The Sri Lankan government aims to triple the region's per capita income to US$12,000 by 2020, targeting an average annual growth rate of 7 to 8 per cent over the next four years, according to IE Singapore.
The Western Region Megapolis, anchored by commercial capital Colombo, is one of the flagship developments by the Government of Sri Lanka and includes 142 projects with an estimated value of US$40 billion over the next 15 years, IE Singapore added.
IE Singapore assistant chief executive officer Tan Soon Kim, Singapore's signatory for the MOU, said the Western Region Megapolis is a good first stop for Singapore companies to consider when doing business in Sri Lanka given its accelerated growth.
"The MoU signed between IE Singapore and MoMWD creates a platform for Singapore and Sri Lankan companies to partner each other in the urban solutions and connectivity sectors," Mr Tan said.
IE Singapore said opportunities in the two sectors within the Megapolis include development of the central business district of Colombo, port-related works, technological infrastructure and investments in industrial and tourism zones.
The signing at Singapore's Istana was witnessed by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently on an official state visit to Singapore.
IE Singapore will be hosting Mr Ranil to a closed-door dialogue and lunch session attended by 20 industry representatives on Tuesday to exchange ideas on areas of collaboration in the Western Region Megapolis and the greater Sri Lanka, the agency said.