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Sri Lanka tries to woo Middle Eastern investors

The Sri Lanka government’s finance and investment officials met Dubai-based fund managers and businesses on Monday in an effort to drum up foreign investments in various sectors, including capital markets, tourism, infrastructure and financial services.

In their presentations, the delegation, which comprised two government ministers and officials from the Colombo Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission and Investment Board, sought to reassure the prospective investors of peace returning permanently to the island nation after almost 30 years of a “brutal war”, and that proactive steps were being taken to develop the equity and bond markets amid concerns of lack of liquidity and whether regulations are in place for foreign investors’ entry and exit.
Dubai was the fourth stop in its continuing roadshows which started in late 2011. The next destination is Hong Kong.
“When we spoke to the people in the industry, the feedback we got was that Dubai was where a lot of the major funds that invest in the region are headquartered,” said Krishan Balendra, chairman of the Colombo stock Exchange. “Like what Singapore is to East Asia, Dubai is to Middle East. We are really targeting those fund managers who are based here.”

Securities and Exchange Commission and Investment Board