Sri Lanka to train foreign service in economic diplomacy: Harsha

Harsha-De-Silva

Mar 07, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government will be training its officials in the foreign service through a online economic diplomacy course with Harvard University to help improve the island’s investment and export promotion, a deputy minister said.

“Sri Lanka is running a race, where we are behind Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia,” Harsha de Silva, Deputy Foreign Minister told reporters at a a press conference, Tuesday.

“We have some good runners, but in order for us to win the race we need a strategy. So this is why we got the best coaches in the world for them.”

The tradition was to to use diplomacy to bring peace but today we are using economic diplomacy to bring prosperity to the people, he added.

“Sri Lanka needs more foreign investments to boost jobs and living standards.”

Director General Department of Commerce Sonali de Silva said the course will be to train high commissioners and commercial officers and include modules to strengthen their trade communication skills.

Sri Lanka’s exports are not diversified enough, the deputy minister said.

“Our Commercial Officers engage in a wide variety of work from dealing with inquiries to promotion but what is need is targeted campaigns.”

Matt Andrews, Associate Professor at the Harvard Centre for International Development said foreign officers could play a big role in convincing foreign investors to come to a country while noting that high export performance countries had very effective foreign officers.

The best team among those in the course will be sent on an executive training scheme to Harvard.