The European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka’s (ECCSL) first event of the new ‘‘Afternoon Update” series took place on 3rd October from 3.30pm onward at Salon Anthurium, Galadari Hotel. This is the first event by the recently established Financial Services Strategic Committee, the newest addition to ECCSL’s Market Access Teams, comprising members from the banking, auditing and advisory sectors. The committee plans to explore opportunities for cooperation on financial and address matters & concerns in economic perspective.
This event was organised to offer ECCSL members an opportunity to meet with two of the largest Independent Financial Institutions operating in Sri Lanka, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, to hear directly from their leadership about the projects currently in place to support Sri Lanka, what has been achieved so far and what is expected soon.
Ms. Chiyo Kanda, Country Manager for Maldives & Sri Lanka – World Bank, Mr. Utsav Kumar, Deputy Country Director and Mr. Santosh Pokharel, Unit Head, Private Sector Development – Asian Development Bank were part of the discussion and shared their informed insights and expectations. The panel of speakers was further enhanced by Mr. Anushka Wijesinha, a leading Economist and International Consultant and Co-founder of ‘Centre for A Smart Future’ to share his insights into the present situation in Sri Lanka, the progress and necessities to overcome this crisis.
The event was moderated by the Head of the ECCSL’s Financial Services Committee, Mr. Erik Versavel, the General Manager for ING Hubs Sri Lanka.
The current economic situation of Sri Lanka needs little introduction. While there has been significant easing in some specific areas, much of the news continues to be pessimistic with reports of food shortages and ever more families falling below the poverty line. The discussion therefore provided an informed and insightful dialogue on the current economic situation of the country, which sectors are in need of support and the challenges currently facing by Sri Lankan businesses and people. The discussion also included an open dialog on programmes which are being conducted and the aid mechanisms that will be provided by World Bank and Asian Development Bank to support Sri Lankan businesses.
Mr Wijesinha spoke in detail on how the present situation of the country affects businesses and the measures that are required to give practical assistance. He touched on the topics of economic reforms, the impacts of reforms and their importance to Sri Lankan businesses. He also discussed the reasons for the economic downturn and the current import-export conditions.
The event also included a Q&A session with the audience where a number of the attendees were able to put their queries to the panel for discussion.
The event was well attended by guests representing the EU delegation, AHK Sri Lanka, The Japanese Embassy, Netherlands Embassy as well as a healthy participation from ECCSL members.
In order to enable a frank and open discussion, the event was a “closed door” event, restricted to members only with a very few selected guests and was not recorded or broadcast.
The event was concluded with a networking session, which gave an excellent opportunity for companies to meet senior people from a wide range of business, to support new connections and opportunities to grow their businesses. The guests enjoyed tea, coffee, refreshments and good company.
The first Afternoon Update was facilitated by event sponsors, Ernst & Young (Gold Sponsor) & DFCC Bank (Silver Sponsor) and the ECCSL’s Corporate sponsors HSBC & ZILLIONe.
As a part of its commitment to its members, ECCSL will continue to organise events and forums of this nature to address relevant and timely discussions especially for its members.