Sri Lanka - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and other business opportunities.

Last published date: 2021-09-28

Sri Lanka is a lower middle-income country with a sizeable middle class that seeks U.S. and Western products and services.  However, the country still has significant infrastructure needs, and the government continues to invest in roads, public transportation, ports, airports, public housing, waste and water treatment, and power projects.  Owing to substantial public debt, the government has mandated all development initiatives will be on a build-own-operate-transfer basis with no debt capital funded projects.  As a hub for tourism, Sri Lanka also requires a range of services and high-end products.  Sri Lanka also seeks to position itself as a logistics and technology hub for the region, which creates an opportunity for information technology equipment and services exports.  Priority sectors include:

· Infrastructure Development:  Engineering, construction and equipment products and services for road, power plants, sewage, water, rail, port, and airport projects.

· Real Estate and Construction:  The country’s construction sector continues to grow rapidly in development of high-end residential, commercial space, hotel and resort construction, and infrastructure – contributing an estimated 4 percent to GDP in 2020.  The annual value of the construction sector in 2020 is estimated at $3.9 billion.  Many domestic and international companies are active in the industry.

· Textiles:  Sri Lanka imports approximately $2.8 billion of textiles and yarn annually for the apparel industry and requires a range of equipment and services.

· Agriculture:  A growing need for wheat grain, lentils, cotton yarn, and fruits; and development of agriculture-related infrastructure, including cold-storage facilities.

· Telecommunications and Technology:  Sri Lanka aims to become an information technology hub and 5G trials are already underway.  In addition, the Government of Sri Lanka and private sector institutions are digitizing records and processes and upgrading existing networks and systems.

· Franchising:  Franchises offer another opportunity to appeal to tourists and a growing middle class.