COLOMBO- “Emiratis have come a long way in achieving economic prosperity through diversifying their economy into various sectors and setting up an example for developing nations, “ so said Environment Minister Naseer Ahamed on Thursday, November 1, on the eve of the 51st National Day of the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking at a reception held at the Shangri La Hotel in Colombo, the minister said: “Today, the United Arab Emirates has emerged as a regional economic powerhouse under the visionary leadership of their leaders and has evolved into an aviation, finance, education, renewable energy, technology, and culture and tourism hub.
“ Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates enjoy close and cordial relations since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between our two countries in 1979, almost 43 years ago. Relationship with the United Arab Emirates is significant to us as approximately 300,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers are employed in the United Arab Emirates,” the minister concluded.
In his opening speech, Khaled Nasser Sulaiman Al Ameri the newly appointed United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Sri Lanka said: “ On this occasion, I would like to hail the outstanding and cordial bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. These relations found their roots in the principles of cooperation and mutual respect, and has reached, in the recent years, great levels of partnership between the two friendly countries, in various dimensions, such as trade, investment, exchange of knowledge and culture.
The UAE is one of the leading sources of foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka, and is one of the largest trading partners in the Middle East with a trade exchange representing more than half of Sri Lanka’s trade with the region. Despite the challenging economic conditions, the UAE direct investments in Sri Lanka exceeded 19 million dollars during the years 2020 and 2021, while bilateral trade amounted to 2.7 billion dollars during the same period.
Humanitarian organizations in the UAE continue to provide a substantial amount of aid and humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka in order to uplift the life of the underprivileged. This year alone a total number of 6,867 underprivileged families, and around 35,000 individuals, including the needy, elderly, and orphans, have benefited from the distribution of dry rations, food packs, clothing, and other humanitarian aid, in different parts of Sri Lanka.”
A galaxy of distinguished guests including diplomats, ministers, senior private and public servants, businessmen and UAE well-wishers.