Spurring the development effort
There are numerous
'happening things' currently on this country's economic front
which are going largely uncommented on, which we believe we are
obliged to dwell on for the purpose of projecting a clear
picture of the state of Sri Lanka's economy. For instance, in
March next year, the EDB would be conducting an international
trade exhibition in Colombo titled, 'Sri Lanka Expo 2012', which
would be seeking, among other things, to expand our export base
and render the local economy more vibrant.
A report in our business pages yesterday said that the event
will also focus on promoting Sri Lanka as an investment and
tourism destination. We are given to understand that the EDB
would be playing an increasingly dynamic role in promoting Sri
Lanka as a country of great economic promise.
Among the high profile visitors who are expected to
participate in 'Sri Lanka Expo 2012', are World Trade
Organization chief Pascal Lamy and Chief Executive Officers from
the internationally famous business chains and concerns of Marks
and Spencer and Victoria's Secret. This is, among other things,
a pointer to the increasing interest Sri Lanka is generating
internationally as a prime business destination. Now that the
vexed problem of terror is behind this country, to many, Sri
Lanka is a country which is brimming with immense business
promise. This is the message current developments on the
economic front convey.
It is also of interest that the local packaging industry
would be conducting a business forum in May 2012 with also the
intention of conveying the quickening prospects of this country
as a business destination. Titled 'Lankapack 2012', the event
aims at bringing together those engaged in the packaging
business, whose fortunes are closely bound with the productive
process in this country. This forum too would draw international
participation and attention and showcase this country as a
business destination of immense potential. The Central Bank of
Sri Lanka summed-up these and more promising local economic
trends by stating that 'foreign investors have expressed
continuous interest in investing in the Government Securities
market, as a result of growing uncertainties in advanced
economies and greater prospects in emerging economies.'
In fact, we need to see more than a 'window of opportunity'
in the current economic downturn of the West. It is to the more
economically productive East that the world is looking for safer
investment zones, now that the Eurozone crisis is dampening the
prospects of world economic revival. East and South Asia are
being seen as the emerging growth zones of the world and for
good reason too and Sri Lanka would do very well to seize on the
growth opportunities that are fast emerging.
We need to have an eye on the market opportunities that are
opening-up in the West and in other parts of the world where
productive sectors are slowing down. Every effort needs to be
made to cash in on the consumer goods markets in these
economically depressed regions, while linking closely with the
more dynamic economies of India and China, for instance.
There are economic complementarities in the latter economic
giants which must be exploited by us in dynamic fashion. There
is, for instance, a bourgeoning middle class market in these
countries whose consumer needs could be met to a degree by us.
Besides, rather than export our commodities in bulk we need to
look closely at adding value to our exports. It should be borne
in mind that these consumers are of sophisticated tastes and
There are numerous other growth strategies that need to be
closely looked at. The onus is on the state and the
entrepreneurial sectors of this country to examine these options
in a studied fashion. What is amply evident is that the
citizenry and the business sectors of the West are thinking in
ways about Sri Lanka which are at variance with the prejudices
of some Western governments. If more and more tourists and
businessmen are keen on visiting Sri Lanka, this is a sure
indication that they see Sri Lanka as a land of immense promise.
We need to make good use of these opportunities to write our
name in gold as an up and coming country of South Asia.