India Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Business Conclave – 2024”

India Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Business Conclave – 2024” will be  held   from 28th to 29th May 2024 at the Shangri-La Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Conclave will focus on bringing potential Investors including business partners to Sri Lanka in  Agriculture, Renewable Energy,  ICT, Logistics, SME & Women Empowerment and Tourism.   

The two-day event will feature a Strategic Networking Reception on the 28th May and Panel Discussions and Breakout Sessions followed by B2B meetings on 29th May on selected topics as per the IORA Charter on “Sustainable Development”.  Field visits upon request of the delegates will be organised on 30th May, 2024. A Brochure is attached herewith.

The Business Conclave will be organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce with   the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the Department of Commerce and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.

Sri Lankan Airlines has offered to all participants and accompanying persons up to 10% discount on Economy Class airfare and up to 15% discount on Business Class airfare.

Online registration/payment facility could be accessed via :  


The past six decades have been marked by unprecedented population growth. By 2050, some 9.7 billion people are expected to inhabit the plant, but the number of working aged people will differ considerably around the world.  

This study explores three global trends – the working age shift, the elderly boom and the urbanisation wave – based on an analysis of 5,000 data points on demographic changes coupled with company interviews.

Zooming in on Asia, the report presents three future scenarios until 2050 that will impact economic growth and the prospects for Swedish exports in the years ahead.    

3 questions for Dharshana M. Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the Nordic and Baltic countries

3 questions for Dharshana M. Perera, who in March 2024 will take on a new post at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, ending three intense years as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Nordic and Baltic countries. Dharshana M. Perera has a long diplomatic career and prior to his career in diplomacy had worked as an academic and in the international Sri Lankan business community.

What do you take away from your three years as Ambassador to the New Nordics?

Among the important features I observed, were the values Sri Lanka shares with the region we refer to as the New Nordics which is covered by the Embassy in Stockholm. It includes Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Shared values of democracy, open economic orientation as well as the climate & environment are so critical to our societies to nurture. Sri Lanka is one of the oldest democracies in Asia and we share this heritage with this region. We are also open, export-oriented economies.  We share similar views on climate and environment – deeply committed to reaching climate goals.  This is a solid foundation for generating business with Sri Lanka and I am pleased to see that this area has particularly strengthened in recent years.

Foreign Minister, Hon. Ali Sabry, discussion in May 2023, significantly elevated the Bilateral engagement with Sweden with good outcomes from his meetings with Speaker, H.E.  Andreas Norlén, and Swedish Foreign Minister H.E. Tobias Billström.

The Indo-Pacific EU Ministerial Meeting hosted by Sweden at the time was a significant opportunity for Sri Lanka’s engagement with the EU,  placing Sri Lanka in the heart of the EU-Indo Pacific dialogue. His meetings with the SSLBC, top-level business executives in Stockholm and the business community as well as the Sri Lankan community added to the depth and breadth of our engagement.

Several Swedish companies have operations in Sri Lanka. How can relations be further developed?

Sweden has been and is an important partner to Sri Lanka. We established formal diplomatic relations 75 years ago, just a little over a year after Sri Lanka regained independence. The Kotmale hydroelectric dam symbolizes the excellent partnership in development cooperation.  The dam was built by the international Swedish construction company Skanska financed by SIDA. It continues to provide electricity- a clean form of energy – and contributes to important irrigation solutions for agriculture and livelihoods. We are committed to ensure that by 2030, 70 % of Sri Lanka’s energy needs are renewable. But, this requires different partnerships, both in terms of investment financing and construction. Solar, wind and green hydrogen are where I see several openings for Swedish companies. Additionally, there is a valuable opportunity in the IT-sector. Several Swedish IT companies have long had important parts of their operations located in Sri Lanka.  As Swedish IT company, IFS, has described Sri Lanka is ”the backbone of its global operations” and “the jewel in the IFS crown”. Other IT companies include Cambio, SoftOne, Ascentic, e-Builder and several others. Sri Lanka can be a catalyst in raising competitiveness of Swedish businesses by meeting the IT and tech needs which are in short supply, especially in AI and other sectors. The multifaceted, diverse, compact, all-year-round destination is another area for a stronger partnership with the New Nordic Region. Sri Lanka’s tourism product really does encapsulate Asia in one Island. Apart from the Embassy, Sweden Sri Lanka businesses including the Sweden-Sri Lanka Business Council (SSLBC) have an important role to play and be a strong voice for business and to raise awareness of the business opportunities in several sectors. Sri Lanka and I personally are grateful for the very productive collaboration we have with the President at the SSLBC, Jan Campbell, and his team of the SSLBC.

Can business relations with Sri Lanka also be strengthened in Sweden?

The past year has been particularly successful in the business pillar. Firstly, in partnership with Innovation Lab, Copenhagen, the Export Development Board and SLASSCOM, the Embassy at the Consulate in Gothenburg in May/June 2023 organized the IT Nordic Mission in the respective cities. Following the release of the IT Eco System IT Industry Report in Copenhagen and the engagement with the business partners in the three major cities, several IT and technology partnerships were established.  This builds upon the excellent Sweden-Sri Lanka IT-related business enterprise we have.

Secondly, the Embassy was part of the team which conceptualized and facilitated the multi-tiered initiative on CleanTech transport, Clean Energy systems, e-mobility and IT which led to the establishment of a ground breaking partnership between one of Sri Lanka’s most diversified IT conglomerates – OREL IT – and Gothenburg’s ANODOX. The agreements were signed in October 2023.  This was followed by a soft launch in Gothenburg. It will link the country into the EV battery global supply network.   This project, amongst others, symbolizes the untapped potential for business which exists between the two countries and the region, bringing together synergies with Sri Lanka. We had excellent support from facilitators such as MobilityGuard, Gothenburg. The Mayor of Partille Municipality and Business Region Gothenburg support the partnership.  

In summary, Sri Lanka can be an excellent partner with the region to sharpen the competitiveness and to diversify supply networks in a range of business pillars. The well-educated, highly skilled, English speaking talent pool with good business practice makes this engagement robust for  long term mutually beneficial business partnerships.

Naturally, we and our partners are enthused about celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations in 2024 – the anniversary which falls on 19th November this year.

Colombo International Tea Convention – 24th to 26th July 2024, Sri Lanka

Colombo International Tea Convention – 24th to 26th July 2024, Sri Lanka

“Tea, a lifestyle & a Livelihood” – the Colombo International Tea Convention  will be held from 24th to 26th July 2024 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Convention is for tea manufactures, exporters and importers, researchers, tea influencers/ bloggers and tea lovers from all over the world. The convention is expected to be a platform for conversation, thinking, and action on globally applicable, sustainable solutions for uplifting the diverse and unique tea communities and tea-growing beverage industry environments across the world.

The following link has more information and registration details:

Sri Lanka in Swedish Radio

Stockholm Monday

One man’s death, another man’s bread, they say. Take the latest Houthi rebel-led attacks on ships in the Red Sea. Geopolitics that, one might argue, have nothing to do with a textile worker in Bangladesh.

But soon it has to do with just one underpaid textile worker in Bangladesh. Because when the shipment of our knitted sweaters runs into obstacles, it doesn’t take long for the problem to end up on the factory floor again like a boomerang.

And there on the floor there is already a lot of grumbling. A new minimum wage agreement has been concluded and the workers are not satisfied with the scarce 1200 kroner a month that the new wage is. Last fall, they took to the streets of the capital Dhaka and protested.

After all, Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest clothing producers, and for the industry, low costs and short lead times are essential. While the textile manufacturers in Dhaka’s suburbs are now thinking about how to deal with skyrocketing shipping costs for the clothes they sell to Europe and North America, it’s all the happier. in neighboring Sri Lanka.

The port in the capital, Colombo, has received so many requests in recent weeks, as shipping companies reschedule their routes, that they have to say no thanks to customers, local media reports.

Sri Lanka’s strategic location is the big selling point for those who ship goods west and east. And there are both concrete plans and great hopes that the country will be able to make even more money in this particular situation. One of India’s richest men, Gautam Adani, has begun constructing another terminal at the port. The US Development Bank has said it is willing to act as a co-financier. In the same port there is also a Chinese terminal. Geopolitics can hardly be clearer than that. Through loans and investments, the three countries have long tried to increase their influence over those in power in the capital, Colombo.

For Sri Lanka, which is trying to recover from the country’s worst economic crisis ever, more business and investment is infinitely welcome even if it is due to Houthi attacks and a crisis in the Middle East. The International Monetary Fund, which continuously evaluates the government’s reform work, said the other day that it sees signs that the economy is starting to recover, but that it has not yet led to improved living conditions for the population.

One of the government’s moves to get the country back on its feet has been to increase the tax burden. One trade union after another has been protesting on the streets of Colombo for the past year against the fact that the burden of the economic crisis is falling on the population instead of the corrupt elite. Last week, it was the healthcare workers’ turn to carry out a nationwide one-day strike.

Naila Saleem South Asia Correspondent