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Weekly Wrap - 7th Feb

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Read about the economic impact of Corona Virus in this week's wrap

How can Asia ride the digital wave to spur financial development?

As the digital economy, internet and smartphone technologies rapidly transform the way people communicate and do business, policymakers must act quickly and proactively if countries are to reap its potential rewards.

Economic development in Asia: there’s an app for that. Read more about it, here.

 

Facemasks are flying off the shelves.

The coronavirus outbreak is creating a skyrocketing demand for face masks in Asia and across the world. In Hong Kong, people are waiting in line for hours while in Singapore the government is handing out four masks to every household from their national stockpile. The shortage in China is so severe citizens are reportedly even DIYing masks out of everyday items. There's multiple reports of price gouging and worries frontline healthcare workers are being put at risk because of dwindling mask supply.

 

Is Sri Lanka really open for business?

At a recent press conference, the newly-appointed ‘Investment Promotion’ Minister Prasanna Ranatunga is quoted as having said that the Government is eyeing $ 2.5 b worth of foreign direct investment (or ‘FDI’) for 20201. Some call it an ‘ambitious objective’ claiming that the same news source states that the FDI numbers for the first 11 months of 2019, as per the data provided by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) itself, amounted to only $ 772 m. What is it, really? Here’s the problem, the legalities, and potential recommendations.

 

Coronomics – the economic fallout due to the Corona Virus.

Sri Lanka today has the ability to identify a novel coronavirus infection in two hours and in the region this facility exist only in Pune for the entire India considering all its well-developed medical infrastructure. However, Professor Ajith de Alwis states that we must ‘understand our fragility’, in this article he penned.

 

Coal power plants in Sri Lanka have had mixed reactions. Japan's government has come under scrutiny over its plans to build 22 new coal-burning power plants in the next five years, The New York Times reports. The energy-poor country has been relying more on emissions-heavy coal, especially in light of the Fukushima disaster, which led to a near-total shutdown on nuclear power. Recently, the country's environmental minister Shinjiro Koizumi asked the government to reconsider financing coal projects in Vietnam, while a Reuters poll found that six in 10 businesses want the government to curb its coal-fired power projects.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Aisha Nazim

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