Skip links

Sri Lanka Seeks Closer Ties with Saudi Arabia in Tourism, Labor, and Renewable Energy

Sri Lanka aims to strengthen collaboration with Saudi Arabia in the tourism, labor, and renewable energy sectors to support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, according to the island nation’s new ambassador, Omar Lebbe Ameer Ajwad. He shared this vision with Arab News as he assumed his post in Riyadh on Monday.

Ajwad, a career diplomat, previously served as ambassador to Oman and Yemen from 2019 to 2022. He also held positions as Sri Lanka’s acting high commissioner in Singapore and deputy high commissioner in Chennai, India. One of his early assignments was as deputy chief of mission at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh, marking nearly 26 years of diplomatic service.

Praising Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Ajwad emphasized Sri Lanka’s potential contribution to the Kingdom’s transformation and diversification efforts. “Sri Lanka wishes to partner with Saudi Arabia in this transformative journey. Therefore, my primary focus would be on promoting economic diplomacy,” he told Arab News.

Ajwad believes that Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia are well-positioned for enhanced connectivity and deeper economic cooperation. With the two countries celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations this year, he is committed to fostering further cooperation to achieve new milestones in their relationship.

He highlighted key sectors in Saudi Arabia’s diversification efforts, such as tourism, transportation, logistics, and renewable energy, which align with Sri Lanka’s priorities and capabilities. Ajwad expressed Sri Lanka’s interest in participating in Saudi megaprojects, including the multibillion-dollar NEOM smart city. “Sri Lanka’s skilled and semi-skilled workforce could support various aspects of construction, engineering, and service industries required for projects such as NEOM,” he said.

Sri Lankan workers can offer expertise and technology in NEOM’s renewable energy sector, agricultural projects, and IT development. Saudi Arabia is a significant labor-receiving country for Sri Lanka, with tens of thousands of Sri Lankan workers in the Kingdom, making it one of Colombo’s main sources of foreign remittances.

Ajwad also noted that Sri Lanka’s well-established tourism sector, particularly in sustainable and eco-tourism, can contribute to NEOM’s development as a major tourist destination.

To enhance bilateral engagements, Ajwad plans to increase interactions between Saudi and Sri Lankan public and private sectors through political consultations between their foreign ministries and the establishment of a bilateral business council. “I strongly believe that setting up strong platforms for bilateral engagements will serve as a catalyst for the much-needed information flow, networking, and follow-up, fostering greater cooperation between the two countries,” he said.

Source: Arab News

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.