Sri Lanka counts on US$1.5 bn aid from foreign donors this year

January 12, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka hopes to secure over a billion dollars in aid pledges when foreign donors meet later this month to discuss the island’s economic health, and attempts to resolve the ethnic conflict, a senior official said Friday. The Indian Ocean Island secured 1.1 billion dollars in foreign aid last year, which included around 300 to 400 million dollars earmarked to rebuild areas affected by the December 2004 tsunami.

“We have a pipeline of about 1.5 to 1.7 billion dollars worth of projects ranging from health, water, education, roads and power. We are hopeful of securing assistance for it during the aid meeting later this month, treasury secretary P B Jayasundara told reporters.

Deputy Finance Minister, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the government is expecting around 50 foreign donors to participate during the two-day aid parley which starts on January 29, in the port city of Galle.

Last month, Germany said they were suspending aid to Sri Lanka, until the government made some headway to settle the Tamil separatist conflict that has killed over 60,000 people since 1972.

Germany’s Overseas Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said Berlin was frustrated that its aid to Sri Lanka was not being used