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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 101

Norway plans to continue its development co-operation to Sri Lanka

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 01 March, ( The Royal Norwegian Embassy says it has decided to continue Norwegian development co-operation to Sri Lanka.

Releasing a press statement, the embassy spokesman Numberg Eric said , in 2006, Norway’s total development co-operation to Sri Lanka amounted to almost Rs. 4 billion. Of the long-term assistance provided, around 64% went to the South and the country as a whole, and 36% to the North and East.

Norwegian ambassador Hans Brattskar, during a visit to Hambantota district 26 – 28 February, stated that Hambantota would continue to receive a substantial amount of Norwegian development co-operation promoting private sector development. Norway has for the last 20 years, through NORAD, funded the Hambantota Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP).

The Ambassador stressed that economic development is one of the priority areas for Norwegian development co-operation. In 2006, Norway has provided funding to a broad range of projects, including support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and to investments in improved infrastructure. Norway has also, together with its partners, brought about more environmentally friendly and efficient production methods in the industrial sector, increased living standards for women and their families through micro credit schemes and improved housing conditions for people in the plantation sector. A matchmaking programme, facilitating co-operation between Sri Lankan and Norwegian businesses, resulted in a number of new joint ventures. Moreover, a coastal management plan for Hambantota was prepared with Norwegian assistance.

Support has also been extended to several civil society organisations throughout the country, including theatres and other organisations promoting culture to the general public.

Furthermore, Norway has continued its support for the tsunami-affected population in the south, east and north in 2006. The main focus has been on enhancing job opportunities in addition to reconstructing schools, religious buildings and permanent houses. In total, Norway committed over Rs. 6 billion to the relief and rehabilitation efforts in Sri Lanka for 2005 - 2007. Moreover, substantial amounts have been provided as a result of private donations from Norway.

According to current plans, Norwegian development co-operation to Sri Lanka will continue at the same level in 2007.

- Asian Tribune -

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