Sri Lanka eyes peace dividend after crushing Tigers

August 23, 2009 (AFP) – Conflict-torn Sri Lanka is banking on foreign cash to rebuild shattered infrastructure as the island emerges from decades of ethnic civil war, officials say. Analysts are expecting a large investment peace dividend in the country where bomb attacks and fighting dented investor confidence and kept high-spending tourists away from the tropical South Asian island.

There will be plenty of opportunities for investment once the former war zone in the north and east is open for business, said Chinthaka Ranasinghe, head of Research at John Keells Stock Brokers in Colombo.

“These areas have been virtually bombed out. This throws up enormous potential” for investment, Ranasinghe told AFP in an interview.

“A large number of houses need to be built” along with “new roads, schools, telephone and electricity lines… the investment rebound will be spectacular,” he said.

Three months after the end of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, the government has yet to announce a timetable for when the once-embattled region will be fully open for business.

But the government hopes to resettle at least 80 percent of the nearly 300,000 people in t