Apart from being rich in tea plantations and natural gemstones, Shiraz Latiff, Managing Partner at Consulus Hummingbird in Sri Lanka, says how his country’s 8 million-strong workforce are also jewels. During an interview with The Columnist, he also discusses the challenges that the country faces and what could be expected in 2016.
What is your wish for your country in 2016?
Sri Lanka will lead in economic growth across the region as more foreign direct investments are expected to flow into the country.
What will be the most significant event in 2016?
The outcome of the US Presidential Elections will be crucial for the countries in the region, especially Sri Lanka. We do not see promising policy directions from any of the possible candidates for countries in this region. Besides, the proposed policies of the current leading Republican candidate are not so favourable for a reconciliatory economic approach for emerging economies.
What challenges does Sri Lanka face?
A focused policy direction from the current government which is formed by multiple coalition partners will be crucial yet challenging to achieve. We have two parties from left and right orientations trying to work together in a coalition. The challenge will be in achieving mutual consensus for economic growth rather than for their co-existence.
What is the one opportunity in your country that outsiders are not aware of?
Sri Lanka has the highest literacy rate in the region and the best health indicators that combine to provide a very knowledgeable and productive workforce for any investor.
We cannot talk about one country without mentioning about its signature dish. So what dish will you recommend to someone who visits your country for the first time in order to introduce your culture and why?
Hoppers and ‘fish Ambul Thiyal’, together with a cup of pure Ceylon Tea, make a perfect breakfast for visitors to Sri Lanka.
Hoppers is a crispy bowl-shaped pancake made from rice flour and is sometimes topped with an egg. It serves as a morning energiser to start off the day. ‘Fish Ambul Thiyal’ is made from tuna which is left to marinate overnight using local spices.
Thank you for joining us and Happy New Year!