South Asia requires resilient and cost-effective regional supply chains. This can be achieved through Indian investment, fostering local linkages while reducing dependency on Chinese financing of regional partners. A new approach enhances India's regional influence, creating a win-win scenario for the entire South Asian neighbourhood in a changing global landscape.
Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja
Professorial Fellow in Economics and Trade
Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja is Professorial Fellow in Economics and Trade at Gateway House and Senior Research Associate at ODI Global in London. He holds visiting appointments at the National University of Singapore and RIS in New Delhi. He is a member of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s Stakeholder Engagement Committee on monetary policy and financial stability matters. Previously, he served on the WTO Director-General’s Task Force on Aid for Trade during the WTO Doha Round and the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Task Force on the Indian Ocean. In a career spanning over 30 years in the UK and Asia, he has held senior roles in international organizations (including the Director of Research at the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo, Chief Programme Officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London and a Visiting Scholar at the IMF in Washington DC), government (including Executive Director of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry’s think tank), and the private sector (including Global Head of Trade and Competitiveness at Maxwell Stamp PLC in London). He also worked at the Institute of Economics and Statistics at Oxford University and the OECD in Paris. Dr. Wignaraja has published extensively on macroeconomics, international trade, regional economic integration and economic development. He has successfully led teams to deliver complex projects for aid agencies and governments in over 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. He has a DPhil in economics from Oxford University and a BSc in economics from the London School of Economics.
Macroeconomic Outlook of the World Economy and Asia, Global Supply Chains and Free Trade Agreements, International Financial Architecture and Foreign Aid.
Last modified: February 21, 2024
Sri Lanka has demonstrated signs of recovery following the stabilising policies implemented by the Wickremesinghe government. However, the road ahead for economic recovery is long, with risks associated with the upcoming Presidential elections, geopolitical tensions and debt restructuring.
A stabilising economy in Sri Lanka has eased inflationary pressures and foreign exchange liquidity crises in the past year. As economic recovery steps up, Sri Lanka has also sought free trade agreement-led Asian regionalism. However, with presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2024 and an opposition that wants to renegotiate the IMF agreement, A lasting economic recovery may be derailed by political risks.
President Xi’s speech at the 3rd BRI Forum for International Cooperation in October 2023 has grabbed the headlines in suggesting a vision for a reset BRI, ten years on. Is it a case of ‘old wine in new bottles’ or something radically different? And what does it mean for African development, the poorest continent on the planet?
The Sri Lankan economic crisis was the result of years of weak fiscal performance and lack of consistent development strategies. While economic recovery has picked up pace, addressing macroeconomics issues and implementing structural reforms to promote inclusive and sustainable growth is the key to its success
China's economic slowdown and pandemic-related and post-pandemic disruptions to supply chains have dampened China’s attractiveness as a global supply chains hub. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Professorial Fellow in Economics and Trade at Gateway House speaks with Georgina Godwin on The Globalist by Monocle, about the prospects for India to emerge as an alternative manufacturing hub in Asia, and takeaways for the broader South Asian region.
The announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) has the potential to make India an Asian hub in global supply chains. India’s renewed emphasis on trade agreements and export-oriented foreign direct investment presents a significant opportunity for the country to promote industrialisation across South Asia and make the region less vulnerable to Chinese enticements.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to India last month laid the foundation for a new era of cooperation in key areas like energy, connectivity, trade and tourism. By working together on trade facilitation, central bank cooperation, and IMF capacity-building, market-led regionalism can be the pragmatic way forward for India and Sri Lanka to achieve prosperity.
China-centric global supply chains are being disrupted by rising geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China and multiple global shocks, forcing multinational companies to rethink are global sourcing strategies. India can leverage this moment to become a complementary manufacturing hub in Asia by reaping gains from technology transfers and creating value-adding jobs.
On July 21, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to visit for the first time since taking office. India has already provided $5 billion in economic assistance to Sri Lanka, and is now looking to expand its investment in the nation. Sri Lanka is also seeing interest from Indian private investment. The visit presents an opportunity for the two countries extend this relationship in new areas of cooperation, especially energy, infrastructure, and tourism.