Port of Call | Monocle

  • Date:November, 2012

Monocle, April 2011

Hambantota is about to hit the big time thanks to Chinese money and dynastic might. But not everyone is set to benefit.

A sleepy rural backwater of 15,000 people, Hambantota, the main town in the southern Sri Lankan district of the same name, does not look like an international trading hub.

But Hambantota is about to benefit from two lucky coincidences. It is the home town of Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and its location between the markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East makes it a prime candidate for a seaport – a fact not lost on China, which, according to some, hopes its Navy will gain unfettered access to a deep-water port smack bang in the centre of the strategically vital Indian Ocean.

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