By Paneetha Ameresekere
Chinese entities invested almost US$ 12 billion in Sri Lanka between 2006 to 2019 (last year), stated Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI), a Government think tank, in a recent publication (dated 22 May) released on Saturday (13 June).
However, according to a recent report released by Chatham House, a London-based think tank, there are significant environmental and labour implications of Chinese investment in Sri Lanka, and more broadly of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the country, it said.
These reveal a mixed bag of benefits and costs for the local environment and labour force, said LKI. They should be addressed to ensure that Sri Lanka maximises the benefits and minimises the risks of the BRI. According to environmental advocates, early Chinese-funded infrastructure projects, including the construction of the Hambantota Port and Norochcholai Power Plant, did not meet international environmental standards with respect to feasibility studies and domestic legislation processes.