Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development, Jeevan Thondaman, who returned to the island after participating in the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in China, asserted that this visit reflected Sri Lanka's commitment to global cooperation and its vision for sustainable development.

During his visit and in an interview with Channel News Asia, the Minister noted increased interest and confidence in Sri Lanka amongst the global business community.

At the forum, Minister Thondaman spoke at three key sessions. He addressed the urgent need for reskilling the global and local workforce in a packed session on "Skills and Jobs for New Beginnings," highlighting strategies for facilitating job transitions. 

In the "Transforming Talent" session, he discussed equipping workers with future-ready skills, especially the work the Government is doing in re-skilling and up-skilling youth in the plantation community for jobs outside the plantations and in adapting to technological advancements. 

Lastly, in the "Understanding Nature’s Ledger" session the Minister shared how Sri Lanka is integrating natural capital into economic decision-making, and the Water Board’s new Climate Change Resilience Roadmap on adapting water resources to climate change, reducing CO2 emissions and promoting sustainable practices.

Minister Thondaman had over 16 bilateral engagements at the Forum. These meetings included the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Deputy Minister of Malaysia for Investment and Trade, CEO of Trina Solar and CEO Asia for Suez Water.

In his meeting with Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, both parties discussed working together to address Sri Lanka's economic challenges and the need for cooperation to reduce poverty and empower communities. 

WhatsApp Image 2024 07 03 at 20.12.40

His conversation with Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Liew Chin Tong, explored strengthening bilateral ties, cross-border investments, and employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Malaysia.

WhatsApp Image 2024 07 03 at 20.12.38 1

The Minister also met with Katherine Gao, CEO of Trina Solar. They discussed using Sri Lanka as a manufacturing centre for solar panels, making use of the new free trade and preferential trade agreements being pursued by the government and his plans for transitioning the water sector into using renewable energy.

The Minister also met with the founder of SankalpTaru, an award-winning livelihood and climate project and proposed replicating the successful tree-planting model in Sri Lanka to improve livelihoods and reduce CO2 footprints, especially in the estate and rural communities.

In the area of re-skilling, Minister Thondaman met with fellow Sri Lankan Omar Bawa of re-skilling and up-skilling app Goodwall.  Both agreed to come up with a tailored programme for upskilling youth in the plantation sector to new opportunities in tourism, tech and the service industry.

The Minister also had successful discussions with young biofuels entrepreneur Vinesh Sinha, CEO of FatHopes Energy. Both agreed on the potential for Sri Lanka to become a regional hub in the global biofuels market. 

WhatsApp Image 2024 07 03 at 20.12.39 2

The discussion with CEO of Suez Asia, Francois Fevrier, focused on private sector participation in Sri Lanka’s water sector and completing the country’s first desalination plant.

In his remarks to this publication, the Minister noted the increased attention to emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies at the Forum and was appreciative of the President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s vision to direct investment and research into AI adaptation in Sri Lanka. 

On this line, Minister Thondaman met with the team from SmartTerra, who is using AI technology to detect water leaks and significantly reduce water wastage and customer bills in India and Singapore.

He has also expressed confidence that the extensive engagements at the WEF are signs of new avenues opening up for investment and development in Sri Lanka, especially as the economy emerges from crisis to growth.


WhatsApp Image 2023 08 02 at 15.09.47

Follow Us


Exchange Rates


Electric Bill