A new Dubai or a Chinese enclave?

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A new Dubai or a Chinese enclave?

Beitragvon geemong » 17. Januar 2022, 05:14

A new Dubai or a Chinese enclave?


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"An economic game changer" is how officials describe Colombo Port City, a shiny metropolis soaring out of the water along the Sri Lankan capital's seafront.

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Next to Colombo's leafy business district, the huge expanse of sand reclaimed from the sea is being transformed into a high-tech city which will host an offshore international financial centre, residential areas and a marina - prompting comparisons with Dubai, Monaco or Hong Kong.

"This reclaimed land gives Sri Lanka a chance to redraw the map and to build a city of world class proportions and functionality - and compete with Dubai or Singapore," Saliya Wickramasuriya, a member of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission, told the BBC.

But critics question how much of an economic game changer it will really be for Sri Lanka.

For a start, in order to reclaim the 665 acres (2.6 sq km) of new land, the country needed the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to invest $1.4bn. In return, the firm has been given 43% of it on a 99-year lease.

After several years of dredging, construction activity is gaining momentum and the new city is taking shape.

Huge cranes supervised by Chinese engineers are moving concrete slabs, while earth movers fill trucks with tonnes of sand. A river passing through the reclaimed land has already been dredged, allowing access for small boats and yachts.

Officials estimate it will take about 25 years to complete the project, the first of its kind in South Asia.

Sri Lanka says the land under its control and the area given to the Chinese will be leased to multinational firms, banks and other companies. The government may also charge a levy on their revenue.
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