COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (6 December 2022) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Shixin Chen met with Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe on 5 December. Mr. Chen noted the measures that are being taken to contain the crisis and address its underlying causes, and supported the steps taken to seek international assistance.
Mr. Chen briefed the President on ADB’s emergency response to the crisis, especially in addressing immediate needs such as essential medical supplies, materials for water treatment, fertilizer, and working capital for small and medium-sized enterprises by repurposing from ongoing ADB-funded projects.
In response to the food situation in the country, ADB supported the poor and vulnerable of Sri Lanka with direct financial support while boosting livelihood development activities and agricultural production and enhancing social protection systems. In addition, through the Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program, ADB has provided guarantees to help critical international trade to continue.
“ADB is deeply concerned about the effects of the ongoing economic crisis on the poor and vulnerable sections, including women, of Sri Lankan society, particularly its long-term impact to people’s lives,” said Mr. Chen. “ADB is a trusted development partner of Sri Lanka, and we are working closely with authorities as well as other development partners to address immediate needs and plan future assistance.
Mr. Chen highlighted the need and called for deep, meaningful, and sustained structural reforms to address long-standing macroeconomic vulnerabilities, promote private sector development and to support renewable energy development. Mr. Chen underscored the importance of strengthening macroeconomic management, improving governance, addressing structural constraints, and enhancing social protection system for sustained and inclusive recovery.
During his visit, Mr. Chen also met with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary to the Treasury Mahinda Siriwardana, and Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Nandalal Weerasinghe.
At the invitation of Mr. Wickremesinghe, Mr. Chen participated at the high-level round table discussion on structural reform for economic recovery and sustainable growth along with representatives from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. The government’s reform agenda was discussed along with proposed policy directions, reform priorities, other interventions, and future collaboration and support from international partners.
Mr. Chen will also witness the unloading of a 42,000 metric ton Muirate of Potash (MOP) fertilizer shipment at the Colombo port, which is part of ADB’s emergency assistance to Sri Lanka. The fertilizer will be distributed to paddy farmers throughout the country to support agriculture production and address food insecurity.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.