ACWA Power, one of the largest power-generating companies in the world based in Saudi Arabia with a value of over USD 65 billion have already expressed interest in Sri Lanka to construct six solar power projects and two wind power projects at an estimated cost of USD 800 million.
State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya and a Sri Lanka delegation had a highly focused meeting with the Chairman and Board of Directors ACWA Power and it was pointed out that each of these eight projects would generate approximately 100 MW of power.
The Company is 50% owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and is among the five largest Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) in over 15 countries the world and generates over 40,000 MW of power on an annual basis.
The senior executives of ACWA Power followed this up and interacted with Sri Lankan officials in order to strategize the most efficacious courses of action to execute the project before State Minister Balasuriya left to Saudi Arabia for the two-day visit which was held to promote economic and commercial activity and to attract foreign direct investments to Sri Lanka as well as to boost and enhance employment for Sri Lanka nationals in Saudi Arabia, amongst others.
State Minister Balasuriya also had a high-level Forum at the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce, which was attended by a number of prominent and elite industry and corporate leaders. Both State Minister Balasuriya and Ambassador Amza addressed the Forum by accentuating the six thrust areas of Sri Lanka, which were tourism, ICT, pharma, logistics, textiles and minerals, amongst others. State Minister Balasuriya had meetings and engagements with the Minister of Investments; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Chairman and CEOs of large diversified conglomerates and with leading Business Chambers based in Riyadh, amongst others.
Minister of Investment, whom State Minister Balasuriya met first, immediately scheduled and coordinated a high-profile meeting with corporate and industry leaders of the level of Chairmen and CEOs of some of the largest Business Houses in the KSA. This meeting was attended by nearly 25 top executives of companies in Saudi Arabia having a combined net market capitalization of well over USD 1.4 trillion. Most of them were keen and eager to consider Sri Lanka as an investment destination and to conduct commercial activity.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia articulated that the large Sri Lankan migrant populace in Saudi Arabia has markedly and manifestly contributed to the advancement and augmentation of the Kingdom, over the years, during the Luncheon hosted by him in the honour of State Minister Balasuriya and Delegation.
State Minister Balasuriya met with Ali Al Hazmi, Group CEO, and Board of Directors of a highly diversified and global corporate, Ajlan & Bros Holdings Group. During this meeting, each of the Directors of the Ajlan Group expounded and illustrated their myriad of expertise in realms of power, environment, oil and gas, tourism, logistics, healthcare, education and technology, amongst others.
State Minister Balasuriya and delegation met with LUCID Corporate, which has specialized in manufacture of Electric Vehicles. The Head Office of LUCID is based in California and State Minister Balasuriya discussed the proposition of sourcing graphene from Sri Lanka, since it is a material imperative for batteries for Electric Vehicles, amongst others. Sri Lanka has the purest graphene in the world. Obviously, LUCID expressed palpable interest in this business solicitation.
State Minister Balasuriya placed on record the sincere appreciation and gratitude of the Government and the peoples of Sri Lanka for assistance, cooperation and facilitation as well as aid and grants extended to Sri Lanka, during the last four decades, which have significantly and pointedly contributed in elevating the socio- economic landscape of the country.
State Minister Balasuriya was accompanied by State Minister of Foreign Employment and Market Diversification, Priyankara Jayarathna the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Saudi Arabia P. M. Amza, Additional Secretary of the Ministry Prof. A. Saj U.Mendis and Minster (Commercial) of the Embassy, Sanjeewa Pattiwila, during all engagements and meetings in Riyadh.