JICA Seminar discusses the way forward for Sri Lanka’s economic development
A two-day seminar was organised by Academy of Financial Studies (AFS) with assistance by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at Miloda on 3-4 September, inviting a group of leading economic professors from Japan and eminent panellists from the foreign institution and private sector.
In the opening remark for the entire seminar, Ambassador of Japan Kenichi Suganuma said that the Government of Japan has a strong expectation towards, and is ready to continue to support the new Government’s policies to strengthen further economic development of Sri Lanka. Secretary to Ministry of Finance Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga delivered the Inaugural Speech for the Special Session, which was attended by 400 participants from the Government and the private sector.
The Special Session was devoted to the theme of ‘How to Improve Sri Lanka’s Investment Climate: Investors’ Perspectives’, in which panellists discussed about what is needed to make Sri Lanka friendly for foreign investors together with Professor Kiichiro Fukasaku of Keio University of Japan as the Moderator.
In the keynote speech entitled ‘Is an ‘Economic Miracle’ Possible for Sri Lanka?: What Lessons can the Malaysian Experience Tell Us?’, Dato J. Jegathesan pointed out that the strong political will, the efficiency of the civil service, and the dynamism of the private sector are the three essential ingredients for success, citing how Malaysia became an export-competitive economy from a raw material-driven one in the 1960s. Jegathesan is an eminent Founder Member of the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) with over 35 years’ experience in investment promotion activities worldwide including in Malaysia, Zambia and Tanzania.
Other panellists included SG Holdings Global PET. Ltd. Director Yoshifumi Matsubara, Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC CEO Suresh Shah, Capital Alliance Group CEO Ajith Fernando, JB Securities Ltd. CEO Murtaza Jafferjee and hSenid Group Founder and Chairman Dinesh Saparamadu.
Other topics of the JICA Seminar included ‘Global Economic Outlook: Issues and Risks’, ‘Economic Development and Infrastructure Deficit: Planning and the Role of Technocrats’, ‘Construction of Public Pension in Developing Economies’, ‘Revisiting Industrialisation and Industrial Policy’, and ‘Development Planning in Practice: How to formulate National Development Strategy?’. They were lectured by Professor Akira Ariyoshi of Hitotsubashi University, Professor Hirohisa Kohama of University of Shizuoka, Professor Eiji Tajika of Seijo University, and Professor Shinji Asanuma of Hitotsubashi University, all world renowned experts in the field.
This seminar series started in 2013 by the Government of Japan as part of technical assistance to reinforce the Academy of Financial Studies (AFS), the training arm of the Ministry of Finance and Planning (then). A memorandum of understanding was signed between JICA and the Ministry aiming that the newly established AFS would quip an essential function for capacity development of officials of the Ministry. This week’s seminar was the last of five model Seminar Series.