GIZ at work: Sri Lanka’s long road to peace and reconciliation

13.10.2015 – How can economic development contribute to strengthening Sri Lanka’s fledgling peace? An interview with Randa Kourieh-Ranarivelo on rbb-Inforadio

Society in Sri Lanka still bears the scars from the civil war that raged in the country between 1983 and 2009. The new government needs to address not only the ethnic and religious divisions that continue to split the island state today, but also the widely differing pace of economic development across its regions and the violence-induced psycho-social traumas affecting all sections of the population.

Building peace through new prospects

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ has been supporting Sri Lanka for many years in securing long-term peace. In an interview with Gabriele Heuser from rbb, Randa Kourieh-Ranarivelo, GIZ Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, explained how economic prospects and peace are interrelated.

The existence of a favourable environment for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as job opportunities for young people can help to dismantle the structural causes of the civil war and thus create a better basis for reconciliation among groups that were previously enemies, Kourieh-Ranarivelo said.

Financial products tailored to small and medium-sized enterprises and available nationwide, including in the northern and eastern provinces hardest hit by the war, can help release such potential. So that local banks are able to offer this option in practice, GIZ has provided training for more than 300 bank employees. To ensure that the last hurdle – companies’ actually applying for finance – is surmountable, it has also provided advice to 600 small and medium-sized enterprises to date on how to draft credit applications and comply with accounting standards, and informed them about alternative funding opportunities.

Media cooperation between GIZ and rbb

‘GIZ at work’ is a media cooperation venture between GIZ and rbb Inforadio. Six times a year, GIZ staff members talk about their work in developing and transition countries. The discussion on 6 October was recorded and excerpts were broadcast as part of the series ‘Weltsichten’ (world views).