Over the course of five years since the end of the war, Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious physical infrastructure drive, with the aim of taking advantage of the country’s strategic geographical location. With its close proximity to major international shipping lanes and to the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka can be positioned as a leading trading hub in South Asia. The once backward agrarian region of Hambantota has been the leading beneficiary of this policy stance.
November 2010 witnessed the commissioning of the first phase of the MagampuraMahinda Rajapaksa Port. Meanwhile, the country’s second international airport,constructed at Mattala,was commissioned in March 2013. These are key components of the government’s post-war economic development vision of creating ˜Five Hubs’, articulated in the 2010 strategy document ˜Mahinda Chintana: IdiriDekma’.
With the aim of maximizing spinoff benefits of both of these two mega infrastructure interventions, the government has been declared them˜free ports’ and a 1100-hectare Special EconomicZonearound the sea port has been earmarked for private investment.The attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in particular has been prio