In a virtual address during the Leader’s Session of the Second Voice of Global South Summit, President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the invitation, acknowledging India’s pivotal role in organizing the event. The summit was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi and attended by distinguished leaders from various developing countries.
Reflecting on the significance of the first Voice of Global South Summit, President Wickremesinghe commended India’s leadership and the positive impact it had on drawing international attention to the priorities of the developing world. He noted the successful outcomes of the G20 Summit under India’s presidency, which identified key priorities and diverse issues relevant to developing nations.
During his address at the First Summit, President Wickremesinghe highlighted common challenges faced by the Global South, particularly economic issues such as debt settlement difficulties and limited accessibility to international financial markets. He underscored the need for external assistance from multilateral institutions and developed economies, with India positioned as a bridge between developing economies and G20 countries to address these challenges.
Updating on Sri Lanka’s economic progress, President Wickremesinghe mentioned the receipt of the first tranche of the IMF’s loan and progress in the Official Creditors’ Committee on Sri Lanka’s bilateral official debt. He emphasized the complexity of the issue of indebtedness, calling for collaboration between creditors and international financial institutions to find sustainable solutions.
Addressing the economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka, President Wickremesinghe presented the budget for the next year to the Sri Lankan Parliament, focusing on ameliorating the condition of the people, especially the vulnerable, amid the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.
Looking ahead, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the importance of attracting foreign investment and developing connectivity for long-term growth. The Vision Statement issued with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to India this year focuses on promoting connectivity between the two economies across all sectors and between the people of both countries for mutual benefit.
President Wickremesinghe suggested a special focus on cooperation in digitalization, recognizing India’s leadership in this sphere. He expressed eagerness for advancements in digitalization to contribute to both growth and entrepreneurship, as well as more effective governance. The President concluded by wishing the summit success in its deliberations on these crucial matters.