February 18, 2016 12:04 pm
Sri Lanka has set out a new path where Germany could provide assistance and the change in political landscape is encouraging, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The election of the President Maithripala Sirisena has given us in the European region hope on Sri Lanka once again, she told a news conference held at her office in Berlin and attended by journalists both from Germany and Sri Lanka.
Merkel, who welcomed a Sri Lankan head of state after 15 years, stated that her government is delighted to have President Sirisena in Germany.
When asked as to what advise that she could give to German investors who are interested in investing in Sri Lanka, the chancellor said: “The political landscape has changed in Sri Lanka now.”
Germany has also agreed to set up a hospitality training centre to train those in the tourism and hospitality industry while it will also send a business delegation to Sri Lanka in the coming months . A health conference will also be organized in Germany to find out the root causes for chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka.
The German Chancellor added that she has discussed Sri Lanka’s relationships with India and China and also about the threat from terror group ISIS.
Meanwhile President Maithripala Sirisena has invited the German Chancellor to visit Sri Lanka and while Merkel showed a positive response she did not give a date for an intended visit to the island nation.
Meanwhile the President once again reiterated to all Sri Lankans living in Germany and in Europe to come back and help in the development process to rebuild Sri Lanka.
The President addressing the Sri Lankan community in Germany said we are politically a very strong government so do not hesitate to come back and serve your nation. The President stressed the need of assistance from the Sri Lankan expatriate community in developing the country.
He said Sri Lanka can learn lot from Germany as a very developed country.
Meanwhile the President also met the German President Joachim Gauck at the presidential office while he met the German foreign minister in the evening.
Meanwhile five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between Germany and Sri Lanka were signed.
One agreement was signed for the enhancement of skill development with the German association for small and medium sized enterprises on small and medium enterprises sector development.
It will facilitate technical capacity development in the SME apparel sector technology trawler programs on export opportunities for small and medium industrial products and also to find business opportunities and linkages.
The second MoU was for the Academic Co-operation between the University Grants Commission (UGC) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to reinforce cooperation between the universities of both countries in particular by improving access to information on higher education systems of both countries, encouraging academic exchange in both directions, supporting partnerships between universities and working on joint projects.
The third MoU with Heidelberg University on the creation of the Sri Lanka chair at the South Asia Institute.
Germany to grant 14 million euros to Sri Lanka
Meanwhile the German government intends to grant 13 million euros for technical cooperation for the continuation of ongoing programs and projects in 2016.
This includes 6 million euros to support national park and buffer zones management at Wilpattu, 4 million euros for vocational training in the north and east of Sri Lanka and 2.4 million euros for small and medium size enterprise sector development in Sri Lanka.
Another 0.6 million euros to facilitate initiatives by government and nongovernmental actors such as local administrators religious leaders academics and artists for the enhancement of social integration.
Meanwhile a special project grant of 1 million euros is also expected to be provided the following year.
Shehan Baranage reporting from Berlin