China to fund US$1.4 billion into Sri Lanka's Port City Colombo project
BEIJING / COLOMBO — Beijing is providing a US$1.4 billion loan to Sri Lanka for their Port City Colombo project, The South China Morning Post reports.
This project aims to develop a metropolis from land reclaimed from the sea.
According to The South China Morning Post, the Chinese loan would be the largest foreign investment in Sri Lankan history.
The project is said to be part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, whereby China invests large amounts of money into a country in order to develop its infrastructure.
According to the China Daily, a total of 269 hectares of land reclamation was completed in January.
The basic infrastructure for the project is expected to be completed in 15 months.
Plans for the city include skyscrapers, hospitals, hotels and theme parks.
The port city would be turned into a major financial hub that may one day rival Singapore and Dubai, according to Chinese state media.
Chinese authorities claim the project would create 83,000 jobs and attract upto US$13 billion worth of investments to develop the city.
Beijing has already lent Colombo over US$8 billion dollars to fund other ambitious projects such as airports, ports, railways and more, The South China Morning Post reports.
In December 2017, Sri Lanka had to hand over the Hambantota Port and 15,000 acres of land surrounding the area to China for 99 years as the country was unable to pay back a loan.
Smruti Pattanaik, from the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, was quoted by the South Morning China Post as saying that, "The lure of belt and road money is hard to resist for developing nations as it provides something they are [badly] in need of — funding for infrastructure." Adding that the Chinese funding comes at a cost.