Ebola can impact $ 250 m in SL exports to Africa: Dr. Athukorala

Friday, 10 October 2014 11:22 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Ebola virus that has taken the lives of 2461 people so far in Western Africa and is spreading across the African continent can have an exposure of around 250 million dollars, said Dr. Rohantha Athukorala, addressing the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing evening meeting in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Millennium IT and Brand EZY under the theme ‘Working in Today’s Challenging Environment’. “Given that Sri Lanka’s export portfolio will cross $ 12 billion this year, the exposure of Ebola to Sri Lankan business will be minimal but I guess organisations like the World Bank and IMF must monitor the situation given that economic growth in the affected countries is having a strong impact, with Liberia hardest hit with a 11.7 percentage point hit, Guinea 2.9% and  Sierra Leone at 8.9%,” warned Dr. Athukorala, who is a Board Director of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and Independent Director of many private and public sector organisations in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s export industry is giving leadership to the country with a commanding 15.8% growth from January-July as per customs statistics with the apparel industry growing by 19%, tea at 15%, fisheries products at 23% and manufacturing sector at 15%, contributing to overall GDP growth of 7.8% in the second quarter of Sri Lanka. From a country performance point of view, the USA accounting for 1.5 billion exports is growing at 15.7% which is fuelled by the decline in unemployment from 10 to 6% in 2014, which augurs well for Sri Lanka, voiced the speaker.  However, we must work on the FTA-centred countries like India, which is only registered a growth of 8.8%, and Pakistan registering -13%, which is not positive for a country driving for a new agreement with China, said Dr. Athukorala, adding that the only way forward is with a stronger private-public partnership approach to being more aggressive in export business.