COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (13 January 2022) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Shixin Chen met with Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 10 January and commended the government’s rapid vaccination program and other efforts to speed the country’s socioeconomic recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of health and that investment in the health sector is critical to ensuring we are able to respond to public needs and emergencies,” said Mr. Chen. “ADB is committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to continue the vaccination drive and to provide other COVID-19 support, including for the most vulnerable.”
Mr. Chen is on a 6-day visit to Sri Lanka, his first visit to South Asia since the outbreak of the pandemic. During meetings with the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and Central Bank Governor, Mr. Chen underscored the importance of macroeconomic management and necessary reforms for robust and inclusive growth. Acknowledging the government’s efforts to address economic challenges, Mr. Chen reaffirmed ADB’s support to Sri Lanka’s long-term development agenda.
Along with ADB Secretary Muhammad Ehsan Khan, Mr. Chen reviewed preparations for the 55th Annual Meeting of ADB’s Board of Governors to be hosted by Sri Lanka during the first week of May 2022.
Mr. Chen travelled to Dambulla to review progress of the ADB-funded Mahaweli Water Security Investment Program. The program is a key climate change adaptation initiative that will help secure much-needed access to water resources for agriculture, domestic and industrial use, and environmental flows in the North Central, Central, North Western, and Eastern Provinces, thus improving climate resilience and food security, and sustaining rural economic growth.
He also visited Colombo Port and the Port Access Elevated Highway Project, which provides a direct link to the port from the expressway network. Colombo Port received support from ADB to improve container handling capacity and is now one of South Asia’s few deep-water ports strategically linking the key Asia–Europe shipping route.
Mr. Chen inspected Sri Lanka’s first microgrid pilot, which can operate in both grid-tied and off-grid modes, at the University of Moratuwa. The project, supported under the Supporting Electricity Supply Reliability Improvement Project, has the potential to be replicated and contribute to a green and climate resilient future.
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.