Sri Lanka halves foreign investment targets

October 3, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka may miss its ambitious target of attracting a billion dollars in foreign investments and instead end the year with about 500 million dollars, according to official data. The tiny Indian Ocean Island attracts on average 250 million dollars worth of investments each year, despite an ethnic conflict that has claimed over 60,000 lives since 1972, while an escalation of violence has left over 1,500 dead since last December.

For the seven months to July, the country has attracted 257 million dollars in foreign investments, mainly in the areas of telecommunications, IT, clothing and construction of high rise condominiums.

“Our FDI (foreign direct investment) figures have averaged at 250 million dollars, but now gone up to 257 million dollars from January to July, we should end the year at 500 million dollars or slightly more,” treasury secretary P B Jayasundara told businessmen late Monday but did not say why the country would miss the original target.

In 2005, Sri Lanka secured 280 million dollars in foreign investments mainly from software development, telecom, business process outsourcing (BPO) and small tourism projects.

Sri Lanka’s business climate has b