Sri Lanka and South Africa deepen relations
Pictured here (l-r) Advocate Ajay Sooklal, Legal and Economic Diplomacy Specialist, Sirisena Amarasekara, High Commissioner designate of Sri Lanka and Kirtan Bhana, founding Editor, The Diplomatic Society at an introductory meeting to discuss deepening South Africa - Sri Lanka relations

17 December 2020

Mr Sirisena Amarasekara High Commissioner designate of Sri Lanka arrived in South Africa in December. South Africa and Sri Lanka relations were established in September 1994 soon after the 1st democratic elections in South Africa in April of the same year. Sri Lanka has also gone through a fundamental change after a 30 year civil war.

There have been several exchanges and high level visits between the two countries as cooperation between the countries deepen. Last year President Ramaphosa of South Africa made an official visit to the island nation that is strategically located in the waters of the Indian Ocean between Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Amarasekara graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce (BCom) with honours in 1969 at the University Of Ceylon, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. His Post Graduate Diploma in Development Studies is from the University of Bath in England. His professional training include Management & Automated Information System – MDF- Netherlands – 1986, Rural Development Planning & Management: -University of Birmingham, England – 1987 and Regional Development Planning - UNCRD –Japan – 1983.

Amarasekara has an illustrious career, serving in numerous positions in government and private sector chairing various, institutes and authorities. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his commission here in Pretoria. In his most recent post he served as Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers.

The Covid-19 global pandemic has disrupted the regular chains of supply and changed consumer demand. As health and wellness come into sharp focus the ancient indigenous knowledge of both Sri Lanka and South Africa share common ground and has opened opportunities for innovation and cooperation. The recovery of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is a priority as Sri Lanka and South Africa work to find areas to get people moving again, for business, leisure, official and sport. The tour of the Sri Lankan cricket team to South Africa later this month is a step in the direction of trying to normalise organising and hosting events that are safe.

Regional cooperation, specifically through the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association can be of dynamic value to the member states.