From left: Chandi Dharmaratne, Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Hatem Rajabdeen, Lakshan Madurasinghe, Nuzreth Jalaldeen, Dr. Kumudu Gunasekera, US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz, AMCHAM Sri Lanka President Prasantha Jayamaha, Sanjeeva Abeygoonewardena, Riza Wadood, Pat McCloud, Shirendra Lawrence, and Susan Walke
The 27th Annual General Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AmCham) was held last week, ushering in the new Board of Directors for 2019/2020.
This annual event convenes the AmCham business community to elect the AmCham Board and vote on Chamber issues. The keynote address this year was delivered by US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Alaina B. Teplitz.
Speaking at the AGM yesterday, Ambassador Teplitz stated, “The US Government is not the only one investing in Sri Lanka’s future. US companies have invested over $300 million in Sri Lanka generating hundreds of high-quality jobs in industries ranging from high-end manufacturing to ICT business services, and nearly everything in between.” Speaking further on grants and direct development assistance the United States has provided to Sri Lanka, amounting to over $ 1 billion, the Ambassador said, “Over 10,000 households have directly benefited from USG assistance, and those households’ gross income is in excess of $10.7 million. Over 5,000 micro-enterprises have also benefited with total sales reported by all investment grantees of $68 million. Importantly, in a country that needs female workforce participation to increase economic growth, overall female participation in USG programs was reported at 26%.”
The newly elected AmCham President is Presantha Jayamaha. The AmCham Board of Directors consists of Vice President Renuka Fernando, Secretary Lakshan Madurasinghe, Treasurer Sanjeeva Abeygoonewardena, President Emeritus Dr. Kumudu Gunasekera, Director Chandi Dharmaratne, Director Hasitha Abeywardena, Director Hatem Rajabdeen, Director Kasturi Wilson, Director Nedal Salem, Director Pat McCloud, Director Riza Wadood, Director Shirendra Lawrence and US Embassy Representative Susan Walker.
Addressing the gathering, Jayamaha said, “As the AMCHAM, one of our primary mandates is to improve cross-border trade and reduce restrictions so that our membership can participate and contribute to can drive economic growth for our respective countries. The US is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, with trade between both countries standing at over $ 4 billion.” He concluded by stating, “We have had a challenging few months as a nation. But in this time of rebuilding and strengthening – I ask that each of you here continue to engage and support the AmCham, and work alongside us to improve trade as well as the relationship between our two great nations.”
The AGM was attended by members of the American business community and AmCham’s partners in the Sri Lankan and US Governments.
Founded in 1992, The American Chamber of Commerce brings together over 400 members representing over 250 leading Sri Lankan and American companies based in Sri Lanka, engaged in trade, business and investment activities between Sri Lanka and the United States of America. This is in addition to the work currently being done in a range of matters; from promoting diversity and women in leadership to IPR, change management, roundtables with government officials, trade discussions, thought leadership and various round table trade facilitation meetings or discussions.
Pic by Upul Abayasekara