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US: political reconciliation prerequisite for economic development

Speaking at the AmCham's (American Chamber of Commerce) annual general meeting on Sri Lanka's economic outlook, US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis urged 'full political reconciliation', stressing the need for economic development and political reconciliation to go 'hand in hand', and highlighting the unquestionable 'reservoir of skills and financial resources' of the Diaspora.

See full speech here.

Extracts reproduced below:

"I think that most would agree that in Sri Lanka economic development and political reconciliation must go hand in hand."

"I think about what more could be achieved with full political reconciliation, where every Sri Lankan feels that they have a full stake in the country and where potential foreign investors have confidence in the continued political stability of the country. The overseas Diaspora has a tremendous reservoir of skills and financial resources that could contribute so much to rebuilding Sri Lanka."

"It is not just the money, it’s also the people.  Their skills and overseas connections are just as important, and they can help propel Sri Lanka to the new level of development we all want." 

Highlighting further obstacles to foreign investment Butenis added,

"The World Bank conducts an annual survey on the ease of doing business, and in 2010 Sri Lanka ranked 102th, behind most of its regional competitors.  Similarly, Sri Lanka ranks 91st  worldwide in the Transparency International index of corruption, and this issue inhibits foreign investment, particularly from the United States."