OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a US $ 40 Million rehabilitation fund with the government authorities, to kick start a rehabilitation program in the southern sector of the country.
The joint development program between the Sri Lankan authority and the OPEC country is from the corpus funds that the OPEC country has kept for international development and aid.
The rehabilitation program is for highway A017, which is an 18 kilometer stretch from Rakwana to Suriyakanda, which is expected to reduce travel time and reduce the logistic cost for the region.
This was the highest damaged region during the Lankan civil war which was fought between Tamil liberation army and the Sri Lankan army, India had also chipped in with a peace force for a certain period of time in the late 1980s but after the assassination of our ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, India’s involvement in the Sri Lankan war was dismantled.
The project is also expected to provide a boost to the country’s agricultural sector for better market access, and the investment is a much-awaited step in the region after years of devastation and setbacks.
Chinese investments in Sri Lanka had ramped up in the past, and the Hambantota port which is a very strategic port in the Indo-Pacific Command of the US command center which had raised a lot of eyebrows as doubts over china’s intention towards the string of pearls project and OROB had invited much criticism.
The OPEC investment can also be seen as the west’s interest in strategic partnerships with smaller countries in the Indian Ocean region as a step to curb China’s rising influence in the region.
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