Pitching SL to the world

Thursday, 8 August 2013 00:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • National projects formulated to attract investment
  • PS and SMEs to get  promotion chance
  • 12 heads of state request to speak, total 100 speakers
  • Green energy a theme, non-commonwealth countries including China to attend
  • Private equity houses and international  entrepreneurs enticed
  By Uditha Jayasinghe Attracting investment for national projects as well as Small and Medium Enterprises, finding space for 100 speakers and attracting international entrepreneurs are among the “proud and realistic” aims for the Commonwealth Business Forum, the Government said yesterday. Tabled for mid-November the Government will focus on key national investment projects on infrastructure to promote for investment, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told media.  Twelve Heads of State have already confirmed participation and requested to address the gathering, while the event is likely to have around 100 speakers overall. “It is a unique opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase the country’s potential and the opportunities that we are now in a position to offer the world. It is an opportunity that this country has not had for more than a quarter of a century.” Local private sector companies will be able to present their products and services at the forum. “We will also focus on Sri Lanka as a hub, as a shipping, aviation, knowledge hub; all of this will be done at the business forum. Then we have an exhibition with 400 stalls and this will be of particular importance to the small and medium sector. This is not only for big people but up and down the country small people, industrialists will have the chance of presenting to the world what they have to offer.” Focus on green energy will also be one of the themes of the forum. Organisers are also looking at private equity houses, major investment funds such as CTC, Actis, World Bank, IFC and others for investments. They are also hoping to compile 50-100 small and medium company projects for investors to consider at the forum. “The business council is not confined to countries of the commonwealth, it has a far wider range and we are inviting leading entrepreneurs from countries that do not belong to the Commonwealth. We are inviting countries that Sri Lanka has intimate trade and investment links with. So we are inviting countries like the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Gulf countries and some African countries and central Asia,” noted CBC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mohan Kaul. He went on to say that efforts are being made to connect specific national projects and also link companies together, especially those that already have a presence elsewhere. Already interest from African countries are evident Kaul said, with organisers getting requests on power generation, especially renewable energy, dairy, agriculture where expertise from Sri Lankan companies would be taken and new partnerships forged. “Every Head of State is coming with a business delegation,” he affirmed. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabraal also defended the costs, calling on the media to take a “balanced view”. The former also insisted that the CBC was being held in lieu of road shows and other promotions with the funding merely relocated from various Government departments. CHOGM will be held from November 15 -17 in three locations in Sri Lanka.