The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka hosted a large delegation consisting of representatives from the World Business Society of Tokyo Small and Medium Enterprise Consultant Association (WBS) who are currently visiting Sri Lanka with the objective of evaluating investment opportunities and opportunities of partnerships between Sri Lankan Small and Medium Enterprises and Japanese SMEs.
One factor which interested the delegation was the fact that Sri Lanka’s economy had maintained high levels of economic growth as a result of the country enjoying political stability and increased security since the end of the conflict in 2009.
The visiting delegation consisted of representatives of 19 Japanese enterprises who will act as consultants. They will disseminate information on the investment potential in Sri Lanka to Japanese SMEs.
In addition to this the Japanese delegation expressed an interest in Sri Lanka since the country is now a middle income nation by World Bank classification and is committed to attracting Foreign Direct Investment. Other factors which are an interest to the Japanese delegation is the healthy service sector and the commitment on the part of the authorities to stimulate higher value production while taking into consideration the lessons learned from other Asian nations.
Japan is already a major partner of Sri Lanka, having participated significantly in developing the country’s airport, railways, power supply, water and sewerage sectors. Japan is also interested in Sri Lanka’s knowledge industry and examining option for investment. A central point of interest to Japanese enterprises is Sri Lanka’s Geo political importance, notably the close proximity to the Indian subcontinent, and potential of serving as a base to emerging trade between Africa and south East Asia.
Sri Lanka, as a country with a large English speaking population, is well placed to act as staging point to connect South Asia with East Asia, notably China. This factor makes the island an attractive destination for future Japanese investments.
Mr. Dilip S Samarasinghe Director (Media & Publicity) made a presentation to the Japanese delegation on the potential of investing in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is particularly keen in attracting investments with a high value addition, where skills can be imparted to the working population. Sectors such as high-tech manufacturing, the IT and BPO sector, logistics and tourism are examples of areas which the BOI is keen to promote with Japanese enterprises.
The Japanese delegation consisted of a wide range of enterprises which could be defined as SMEs.
The BOI was represented by Mr Prasanjith Wijayathilake, Executive Director (Promotion), Mr Dilip S Samarasinghe, Director (Media & Publicity), Ms Nilupul De Silva, Director (Promotion) and Mr. Dhammika Basnayake, Assistant Director (Promotion) Mr Hideo Horiguchi, JICA Advisor to the BOI. The Japanese delegation was led by Mr. Jun Sugiura, Chairman of the World Business Associates and who was assisted by Mr Athula R F Edirisinghe and Mr Nihal Seneviratne of JASTECA.
The delegation will spend approximately one week in Sri Lanka on their fact finding mission.