Issue Brief on “Hambantota: Changing Hands”

Sri Lanka formally handed over the strategic port of Hambantota to China on a 99 year lease on December 9, 2017.[1] The port, and investment zone around the port will be controlled by two Chinese firms namely, Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) and Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS) and by Sri Lanka Ports Authority. [2]

The $1.3bn port was built with loans from a Chinese state-owned bank and opened in 2010. But the Sri Lankan government has struggled to repay the debt, as with the Hambantota project, the country came across heavy losses. Sri Lanka also took loans for infrastructure development projects; eventually Colombo now owes China a total of $8bn.[3]

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