An example to emulate on the economic front
Rajapaksa’s personal diplomacy in the Middle East has proved
immensely effective in that besides Sri Lanka entering into a
number of mutually-beneficial agreements with Jordan and Kuwait,
it has helped generate an abundance of employment opportunities
for Sri Lankans in Afghanistan.
There is no doubt that President Rajapaksa’s person-to-person
contact with the Heads of State and Government of Jordan, Kuwait
and Afghanistan would have been a predominant factor in
facilitating these varied boons and benefits for Sri Lanka.
This is an object lesson in how a willingness to go the extra
mile on the part of local State heads could help greatly in
enhancing the international image of the country and strengthen
Sri Lanka’s links with the rest of the world, besides forging
and sustaining a multiplicity of inter-state links which accrue
to the benefit of the states involved.
The Middle East and South and South-West Asia are growth
regions with which Sri Lanka would do well to establish close
The accelerated pace at which the economies of these
countries are growing makes them key attractions for migrant
labour from countries such as our’s and enhances their standing
as potential and real investors in our growth process. Besides,
they are brimming with enhanced inter-state trading
possibilities on account of their growing and affluent
The tapping of these markets requires a quick response from
the Lankan State and the local business sector. President
Rajapaksa, through his presence in these countries, has
underscored their importance for our economic growth. It is left
to the relevant State agencies and the local business community
to build on these ties and to consolidate them.
We are reminded through these visits that we need not wander
far afield - into our traditional Western markets for instance -
for economic and growth opportunities. They are right here at
our doorstep, if we would only care to seek them out.
The crucial point here is that we must seek them out. This
calls for a great deal of dynamism and operational efficiency on
the part of our State agencies and business sector and their
representatives. The President is showing the way in this regard
and we hope his example would be emulated by the relevant
Such efficiency and proactive involvement in seeking out
growth opportunities are crucial at present when a strong “bloc
mentality” is spreading its influence among some sections of the
world community. These economic blocs are based basically on
economic complementarities among the states concerned.
We, in this part of the world, need to do the same although
we should continue to integrate closely into the global economy.
Basically, what is needed is a constant state of vigilance on
the economic front. We need to break out of old, threadbare
growth paradigms and constantly forge newer and newer approaches
to economic growth.