China says Port City project in the best interest of Sri Lanka

Sun said the development within Sri Lanka’s biggest commercial city, which will be built on 269 hectares of reclaimed land, would accommodate 200,000 residents and consists of apartments, hotels, offices, shopping malls, exhibition centres, as well as provide 80,000 new jobs. It is expected to be completed by 2030. China says the Port City project is in the best interest of Sri Lanka. China is building a new city along Colombo’s coastline that will become the city’s central business district by 2030, creating 80,000 jobs for Sri Lankans, under the mainland’s “Belt and Road Initiative”.“Sri Lanka is in urgent need of a high-end platform to attract financial institutions, multinational companies, shoppers, tourists as well as provide jobs for well-educated locals as a part of its post-war reconstruction. The Port City project is planned in the best interest of Sri Lanka,” said Sun Ziyu, vice president of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) in an interview with the South China Morning Post. Sun said the reclamation work had helped transform the area’s coastline which was previously hit by strong winds blowing towards the Indian Ocean that made it less livable.“[This has] also improved coastal protection, and is a boon to the environment,” he said. With an initial investment of US$1.4 billion, Colombo Port City is China’s biggest project in Sri Lanka, a key node along the Maritime Silk Road of the Belt and Road plan. China’s “Belt and Road” plan comprises a belt of overland corridors and sea routes connecting Asia, Africa and Europe through building infrastructure and boosting financial and trade ties for over 60 countries that lie along the routes.In 2016 alone, Chinese firms signed new construction projects worth a total contractual value of US$126 billion. CCCC accounted for one-tenth, or US$12.6 billion of the projects. (Colombo Gazette) read more


UN agricultural fund approves over 110 million to combat rural poverty

At the meeting of its executive board last week, the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) approved US$8.3 million in grants to support farmers, farmers’ organizations, agricultural research and training programmes, along with $102 million in loans for rural development programmes.The loan of $29.2 million to China, for example, assists farmers living in remote areas of South Gansu province, where natural resources have deteriorated and there is only poor access to water for irrigation and drinking. The programme which will receive the funds will support irrigation, terracing, tree-planting and training toward improved farming methods.Another loan, of $19 million, aims to improve the lives of small farmers, traders and processors in Ghana who depend on roots and tubers for their livelihood. With women making up at least one-half of the beneficiaries, the programme will focus on both better production and marketing methods.The $8.1 million in grants are targeted to a wide range of programmes, including those supporting assistance to rural organizations in the countries of the Southern Cone Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR), improved management of indigenous trees and shrubs in the countries of the Sahel, and agricultural research and training in Eastern and Central Africa. read more