The Republic of Korea is continuing its assistance to Sri Lanka with renewed interest in extending its support to improve Education and Infrastructure transportation, water resources, sanitation and regional development in Sri Lanka this year, Foreighn Ministry sources said.
Sri Lanka is one of Korea’s priority ODA cooperation partner countries among all other countries with the Sri Lanka office of KOICA has ben assisting and funding commercial and infrastructure projects in various fields including above mentioned sectors.
For instance, in March 2021, KOICA partnered with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to support the Sri Lankan Government with a funding worth USD 600,000 (LKR 117 million) to procure maize for the production of Thriposha amid COVID-19.
Korea Eximbank also contributes massively to the development of our bilateral relations. Recently the Framework Arrangement between Korea and Sri Lanka has been signed for 2020 and 2022 with the commitment amount of half a billion US Dollars.
Korea ha staken strenuous efforts in successful planning, designing and implementation of the Deduru Oya Water Supply Project which was handed over to the Sri Lankan Government on May 21, 2021.
Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris held discussions on further srenthening bilateral ties between the two countries in Seoul with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education of the Republic of Korea Yoo Eun-hye recently.
Minister Peiris referred to extensive economic cooperation between the two countries, especially Overseas Development Assistance led by KOICA and the EXIM Bank of ROK. Minister Peiris expressed appreciation of the benefits derived by Sri Lanka from these programmes.
The Foreign Minister, referring to the 22,000 Sri Lankans employed in ROK, mentioned the popularity of teaching programmes directed at proficiency in the Korean language in Sri Lanka.
He said that the Korean language had been adopted as a subject for the G.C.E. (Advanced Level) Examination in Sri Lanka in 2023.
Deputy Prime Minister Yoo Eun-hye, responding to Foreign Minister Peiris, said that the Government of ROK would consider extensive assistance for initiatives in the field of vocational education and training in Sri Lanka.
Korean investors are exploring more opportunities in Sri Lanka, especially in the key sectors including agriculture, renewable energy, LNG, infrastructure, digital economy etc.
When it comes to Sri Lankan exports to Korea, apparel products such as leather, fabric, and other agricultural items make a significant contribution to the Korean economy.
Sri Lankan tea is very popular among Koreans for its high quality and distinct taste. The SLIF – 2021 themed “Sri Lanka: Asia’s Next Growth Haven” which was held recently to bolster investment opportunities and uplift foreign investment flows was a great success.
More than 100 Korean investors participated in this forum and expressed their interest to invest in Sri Lanka.
The engagement in labour cooperation has also been impressive in recent years. Around 20,000 Sri Lankan employees are in Korea. Around US$ 520 million were transmitted by them from Korea to Sri Lanka in 2019.
They greatly contribute to the economic advancement of both countries. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the process of departure to Korea for employment was suspended.
Sri Lankan employees in Korea are a great asset to strengthen the economic and commercial ties of both countries. If COVID-19 subsides, I hope to further expand our labour relations, Koreandiplomatic sources revealed.