On 19 December 2023, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), K.K. Theshantha Kumarasiri, presented his credentials to United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Claver Gatete accrediting the former as the Permanent Observer of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), which was held at the Headquarters of UNECA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
At the outset, Ambassador Kumarasiri conveyed cordial greetings from Sri Lanka and congratulated Claver Gatete for a successful tenure as the newly appointed Executive Secretary of UNECA. The Ambassador expressed Sri Lanka’s anticipation of further consolidating its cooperation with UNECA in areas of mutual interest, particularly trade and investment relationships as well as cooperation in the Indian Ocean as the current Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). As Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the African Union and the newly appointed Permanent Observer to UNECA, Ambassador Kumarasiri briefed the Under-Secretary-General on Sri Lanka’s most recent economic policy reforms, particularly measures taken in maintaining the macroeconomic stability of the country.
While accepting the credentials of Sri Lanka’s Permanent Observer, the Under Secretary General projected expanding relations of UNECA with Sri Lanka among the several multitudes, concentrating primarily on the policies of Blue and Green Economy, which are mutually beneficial. Amongst the many focuses brought up for discussion, Executive Secretary Gatete concentrated on collaboration towards capacity development, infrastructure investment and joint research projects between Sri Lanka and UNECA. With respect of the Climate Justice Forum (CJF) hosted at COP 28, in Dubai and Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish the International Climate Change University (ICCU) in Colombo for capacity building and advancing research, the UN Under-Secretary-General recognized the commitment of Sri Lanka to contribute significantly to global efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Accordingly, Executive Secretary emphasized the necessity of establishing a wider partnership and collaboration on the carbon credit initiative and the facades on climate action.
With respect to Sri Lanka’s investment in Africa, the Under Secretary General was briefed on the intended membership of Sri Lanka in the African Development Bank (ADB) as a non-regional Member State in view of taking part in activities of ADB Group in Africa particularly in the green energy. Similarly, the Executive Secretary outlined the on-going process of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in view of eliminating barriers to trade in Africa and also boosting intra-Africa trade. The Executive Secretary stressed the potential of expanding bilateral and regional trade under AfCFTA.
The Ambassador further emphasized Sri Lanka’s commitment under the new foreign policy initiative of ‘Look Africa’ to foster mutually beneficial bilateral trade, investment and people-to-people ties with the African continent. In this respect, Executive Secretary Gatete who has visited Sri Lanka quite a number of times reiterated his commitment to work with Sri Lanka to further strengthen the long-standing people-to-people ties between Sri Lanka and Africa while enhancing e the knowledge of Sri Lanka among African nations.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Sri Lanka.