As part of the Foreign Ministry’s Economic Diplomacy initiative, a business forum was held at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday (March 02) under the patronage of Minister Ali Sabry. The forum intends to expand and intensify Sri Lanka’s presence in the African continent.
The meeting brought together over 50 business leaders representing the sectors of apparel, pharmaceuticals, construction, finance, manufacturing, renewable energy, vessel manufacturing, logistics, FMCG, confectionary and tea along with leading Business Chambers.
The forum was a follow-up to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s “Look Africa” orientation which was initiated during the 75th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence. In parallel, the first Sri Lanka-Africa Business Forum was held on 03 February at the Foreign Ministry to coincide with the 75th Independence Day Celebrations of Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Sabry, opening the follow-up forum, emphasized the timely nature of the government’s policy to reinvigorate, accelerate and amplify Sri Lanka’s political and economic agenda in Africa and stressed on the importance of strategizing a closer economic narrative to build synergies with countries in Africa.
The Minister further stated that Sri Lankan entrepreneurs should look at the targeted priority sectors where Sri Lankan companies have a comparative advantage.
Price Waterhouse Coopers made a presentation on the potential sectors for Sri Lankan companies to look at gaining a foothold in the African region for a stronger economic partnership and a representative from LOLC Holdings, elaborated on their success in the micro finance and financial sectors in the African region.
State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya, Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry participated in the interactive discussion. Sri Lanka’s Heads of Mission accredited to Africa and Sri Lanka’s Honorary Consuls based in Africa connected virtually. Africa’s Honorary Consuls based in Sri Lanka were also associated with the forum. A large number of leading business leaders and companies seeking to share and expand their experiences in the African continent were active participants in this forum. – ada derana