Nov 07, Colombo: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the government is working towards generating an expanded economic zone which will connect Colombo, Kandy, and Hambantota.
The Prime Minister made this remark addressing the 30th International CityNet Congress held at the Hilton Colombo on Monday as the Chief Guest. The CityNet Congress commenced Monday under the patronage of the Prime Minister.
Speaking at the event, the Premier said the economic growth of Asia is given by the cities, which are the main beneficiaries of the economies and it has been observed that within the last 20-30 years emergence of cities as economic centers of Asia.
He explained that the present government of Sri Lanka is committed to rapid economic growth and the plans are based on becoming the hub of the Indian Ocean.
"Our strategic location gives us the advantage and the rapid development that is taking place in the Indian Ocean, especially, in Asia from Iran to Indonesia," he said.
"By 2050, there will be a minimum of 500-700 million more people with a high level of income, then it makes Sri Lanka the ideal location to be the hub," the Premier said.
He explained with the idea of Sri Lanka becoming a hub, the government has set about the urban planning as Colombo is the industrialized hub of Sri Lanka.
The Premier said while Sri Lanka expands faster, some of the industries in Colombo and the Western Province will be pushed to the North Western Province, while Hambantota in the south is being developed as a major industrial and logistics center. A major industrialization program will take place, he added.
In between the two areas of industrialization activities there is a large tourist area, and the central city of Kandy will be developed for tourism and IT, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe pointed out.
He said the initial development will be concentrated in this combined area which will be about 35 percent of the country.
This year's CityNet Congress held from November 5-8 under the theme "Our City, Our Future: Sharing Local Solutions for Sustainable Development", is expected to convene approximately 300 international and local participants that include member cities, associate members and international organizations. Around 130 mayors of cities are participating in this year's congress.
Citynet is a world stage that has been prepared for mayors of cities to connect at international level and to discuss actions important for the advancement of their cities. Attention is being focused on the actions to be followed at city level in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals declared by the United Nations.