UNIDO mulling Sri Lanka power and energy support - Levissianos
New Delhi based UNIDO Deputy Representative for South Asia, Antonios
Levissianos was in town this week to attend a seminar on bamboo
processing in Sri Lanka, organized by UNIDO Sri Lanka Focal Office at
Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. The seminar was part of the Phase III of
the Industrial Development Support Programme of UNIDO, under the
Industry and Commerce Ministry of Sri Lanka and was infact the first
ever formal bamboo processing industry related effort in Sri Lanka.
Having successfully launched Sri Lanka's bamboo industry processing
effort, UNIDO's Levissianos expressed his views to the media of the
Industry and Commerce Ministry. Excerpts:
Q: What is your view on the top most potential sectors of Sri
The tourism industry comes to my mind followed by service sector such
as ICT and BPO and even education sector. The huge agro base has
potential for going green and can become an important player in this.
Wood, rubber and tea will continue their traditional dominance and
grow in the near future. Despite volatility in tea, there is long-term
potential. Waste management can be an important potential opportunity. I
see the energy sector becoming a very big player, particularly the
renewable energy sector: the mini-hydros, etc.
Q: A little more on your view on waste management?
Though not directly, waste management will help the tourism industry
'a lot.' When I say 'waste management' it is not mere garbage disposal.
It's also large scale waste such as industrial, medical and urban.
It's not that Sri Lanka's has a 'problem of waste management' as such
but this is a part of the global problem in connection between initial
investment and profitability. And I believe Sri Lanka's waste can be
effectively recycled to power production and also create employment
opportunities and give a fillip to the tourism industry in the long run
in general due to the cleaner environment that results. Waste management
in Sri Lanka could become more manageable if more supervisory action is
initiated and if public private partnership efforts are undertaken into
Q: What do you think of the status of industry-to-industry
links within the South Asian region?
Inter country industry links in South Asia is an important issue and
will boost industrial development greatly if implemented. These links
need to be improved in a big way for the region's industries to move
forward. As Sri Lanka's Industry Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said in June
in the Maldives, trade between most of the countries in this region is
low since they manufacture and export similar goods.
But this also gives you a good opening to forge country to country
industry links and alliances within same industries. Under the UNIDO's
South-South Cooperation, UNIDO is facilitating technology transfer and
cooperation within the least developed countries and under developed
countries to facilitate inter and intra industry contacts and know-how
Q: How do we overcome competition within the region for
By differentiating through branding efforts and also by targeting
increasing number of niches by further differentiation. Go to various
niches-high end, low end, demographic based. You have to try all.
Q: After Bamboo, what are the future UNIDO plans for Sri
We are not conclusive about our specific areas of intervention in Sri
Lanka as such but looking at various points of strategic interventions
such as assisting the renewable power and energy sector, medical waste
management, industrial waste management, and energy efficiency. Energy
intervention simply because Sri Lanka is not generating oil but
importing crude oil and the valuable export incomes are negated by huge
payments for oil and power generation costs. Also, salinity in soil in
the island appears to be on the increase, an area of concern in future.
Q: Any special message to Sri Lanka?
UNIDO is very happy and honoured to partner Sri Lanka in its new
economic upswing and would be pleased to extend its support and
cooperation in its national development thrust.