Oil Wealth

March 30, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has an opportunity to tap capital surpluses of oil-rich Gulf countries like Qatar as well as export professional services for a booming construction industry there, a senior Gulf banker said. R Seetharaman, chief executive of Doha Bank, the largest private commercial bank in the State of Qatar, said the opportunities arise from the “huge transformation” taking place in Gulf countries with rapid economic growth in the region of 16-17 percent.

“Sri Lankan business, big and small, can go to the Gulf and prosper,” he told LBO in an interview during a visit to Colombo.

The visit was arranged by Sri Lanka’s Chamber of Construction Industries with the aim of exploring business opportunities and creating awareness among its members of the opportunities available in the Gulf.

It was a follow-up on two visits by CCI teams to Qatar last November and in January 2008.

“The aim of my visit is to promote bilateral economic activity between Sri Lanka and Qatar and other Gulf Co-operation Council states,” Seetharaman said. “We’re looking at opportunities in trade, investment, finance and banking.”

Economic growth in the Gulf has reached an “extraordinary momentum” with investment au