The project will rehabilitate the Achchuveli Industrial Zone in the conflict-affected province of Jaffna, the first industrial estate in post-war Sri Lanka. This is a good example of South-South cooperation as the project is funded by a $1.7 million grant from the Government of India with the Government of Sri Lanka also contributing $250,000.
Constructing the infrastructure and utilities needed for new business ventures will stimulate investment, boost the local economy and regenerate livelihoods. The new estate will connect the industrialists in the post-war north of Sri Lanka with the manufacturing base in the south, helping Jaffna move from the post-conflict reconstruction phase towards long-term economic development.
Mr Velayuthan Sivagnanasothy, the Secretary of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, said that the project will be "a great opportunity for the development of small and medium scale enterprises in the Jaffna peninsula". A recent meeting at the public library in Jaffna chaired by Mr Sivagnanasothy attracted 52 potential investors.
The new industrial estate also aims to enhance production capacities in the textiles, plastic and leather sectors, as well as in food processing, agro-based industries, oil and fibre products and others. About 2,000 new jobs are expected to be generated both directly and indirectly, helping to bring life in the area back to normal following years of conflict.
India has chosen UNOPS as its implementing partner to provide the necessary technical expertise and project management services. Rehabilitation work on an initial 22 acres will include the construction of roads, a water supply system with a treatment plant, power supply, sewerage, a waste disposal system and other utilities. There will be a special focus on environmental sustainability, by reducing energy and water use and improving waste disposal, making this the first green industrial zone in the country. The project is expected to be completed in 14 months.
UNOPS adds value to all the projects it implements in various ways, such as by meeting the highest international standards in terms of accountability and transparency, using the latest sustainable construction techniques, and focusing on national capacity development.