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Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry undertook an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to take part at the Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development of World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Riyadh from 27 to 29 April 2024. The invitation was extended jointly by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan and the President of the WEF Borge Brende. Foreign Minister Sabry took part as a panellist at two discussions titled “North to South, East to West : Rebuilding Trust” and "Building Urban Future".

The Foreign Minister stated that the aspirations of the Global South is for the Global North to 'walk the talk' and rebuild trust which was eroded over a period of time while speaking at first panel. Other panelists included Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Burrell Fontelles and the session was moderated by the President of the WEF Borge Brende.

While speaking at the second panel discussion titled "Building Urban Future" Minister Sabry stated that Sri Lanka is at the crossroads of transformation and that it provides a great opportunity to investors in the next phase of development, particularly in urbanisation. Lord Mayor of the City of London Michel Mainnelli, CEO of Impact One Mikolaj Sekutowicz and CEO of IDB Invest James Scriven were the other panelists.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry also met with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan, on the sidelines of the WEF Special Meeting. The two ministers reviewed the bilateral relations and agreed to enhance the economic and commercial partnership and people to people contact.

During the visit, Foreign Minister Sabry and Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih signed an MoU on Investment Promotion. During the discussions held prior to the signing ceremony, the two ministers agreed to encourage investments in each other's countries.

Minister Ali Sabry also met with the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Alibrahim. At the meeting, the two ministers agreed to finalise the road map for greater economic cooperation in alignment with the already existing mechanism for economic cooperation under the Joint Committee.

On the sidelines of the Special Meeting of the WEF, Minister Sabry also met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Vice Foreign Minister of Thailand Sihasak Phuangketkeow and the Secretary General of the Digital Cooperation Organisation Deemah Al Yahya during this visit.

The Foreign Minister had an interactive session with the Sri Lankan community residing in the Kingdom and attended the welcome reception organised in honour of him at the Sri Lanka International School in Riyadh.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia P.M. Amza and Director General of Middle East Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lakshitha Ratnayake accompanied the Foreign Minister to the meetings.

Embassy of Sri Lanka


01 May 2024

President Ranil Wickremesinghe addresses issues ranging from debt relief to climate change and bilateral relations during the World Economic Forum in Davos


Attending the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2024 in Davos, Switzerland at the invitation of its Founder and Chairman Prof. Klaus Schwab, President Ranil Wickremesinghe interacted with world political and business leaders in addressing a range of issues including debt relief, economic recovery and climate change among others.

President Wickremesinghe participated in panel discussions and roundtables covering topics varying from Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and growth to investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, and the global challenges in the multilateral arena, including climate change and mitigation.

Taking part at the Stakeholder Dialogue, organised by the WEF titled “Pulling debt back from the brink” on 17 January as a panellist, President Wickremesinghe highlighted populism, debt relief, balance of payment and budgetary challenges that all countries face. He pointed out that the expectations of the people have to be met in all countries, and that if strict rules were to be applied, all governments would collapse. Also on the panel were, Wale Edun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria , Professor Laura Alfaro of the Harvard Business School,  Professor Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University, and Vera Songwe of the Liquidity and Sustainability Fund. The President also participated in an interactive informal gathering of world economic leaders on the topic “Restoring faith in the multilateral system” held on 17 January.

Delivering the keynote address at the Green Tech Forum jointly organized by the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the opportunities available for investing in Sri Lanka’s renewable energy sector. He also briefed the participants on the framework being established in Sri Lanka to attract green financing.

Participating in a panel organised by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) on Leaders’ Investment Roundtable, President Wickremesinghe highlighted Sri Lanka’s climate prosperity plan and the urgent need for green climate financing for countries in the Global South. He underlined the urgent need to accelerate global action to expedite climate change mitigation efforts.  The President reiterated the need for climate justice and stronger contributions to adaptation and mitigation efforts from advanced economies.

He also briefed the Forum on the Tropical Belt Initiative launched by Sri Lanka at the COP28 in Dubai, which creates a framework for private investment in forests, energy, oceans and mangroves in the countries of the tropical belt. The participation at the WEF provided an opportunity for the President to discuss Sri Lanka’s climate justice and green tech initiatives with former Vice President of the USA and the Founder/Chairman of the Climate Reality Project Al Gore and the US Climate Envoy and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

In a meeting with the Managing Director of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva President Wickremesinghe briefed on improved macro economic indicators in the country that have resulted in positive growth.

During his visit to Davos, President Wickremesinghe also had meetings with the President of Switzerland Viola Amherd,  President of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo , President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Vice President of Nigeria Kashim Shettima , Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Manet, Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Prime Minister of Mongolia Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai, and the Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide.

At the Business Roundtable jointly organized by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce on 16 January, President Wickremesinghe underlined Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and stabilisation processes and highlighted the opportunities for investment notably in renewable energy, agriculture modernization, tourism, IT and infrastructure development. The President also responded to questions raised by the participants that ranged from health, education, renewable energy and banking to agriculture and manufacturing. On the sidelines of the WEF 2024, the President also had meetings with heads of multinational companies, including Maersk and Uber.

Addressing business leaders from India, at the Roundtable organized by the Consortium of Indian Industry, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the macro-economic stabilisation brought about over the past year and invited Indian companies to make use of the unique opportunities in renewable energy, infrastructure development, agriculture and tourism. The President also responded to specific queries and concerns put forward by companies that have already invested in Sri Lanka, and bilaterally followed up with a number of Indian companies including Menzies Aviation, Adani Group, Bharati Airtel and ReNew.

The 2024 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum was held under the theme `Rebuilding Trust´, and saw the participation of leaders from over 100 governments, major international organizations, global business leaders, as well as civil society, academics and experts, young change-makers, social entrepreneurs and the media.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations


21 January 2024

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