Three Quick Ones – Jehan Perinpanayagam

Jehan Perinpanayagam plays a central role in Sri Lankan business and in strengthening trade relations with the Nordic countries. He is the President of the Sri Lanka Nordic Business Council and the chairman of SLASSCOM (Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies) which brings together a growing number of members. He has been with John Keells Group, Sri Lanka’s largest business conglomerate, for nearly 30 years. Since 2005 he is the CEO of its subsidiary Infomate.

Located just south of a market giant, how does Sri Lanka compete?

We don’t compete, we co-operate. We talk about India+1. The respective strengths of our offerings are different. India is ideally suited for very large projects, whereas for more niche projects Sri Lanka is better suited. Diversifying risk across multiple countries is becoming increasingly important in a geopolitically complex and turbulent world. Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM industry offers some of the best and most cost-effective talent. For example, Swedish software company IFS has 2,000 employees in Sri Lanka. There are several other companies in the IT / BPM space from Sweden, Norway and across Europe that have established delivery centers or partnerships in Sri Lanka. Many emphasize quality and innovation as key factors.

What are the main lessons learnt from the pandemic?

The pandemic was a challenge for all of us. In Sri Lanka, we have emerged with some valuable lessons which will strengthen us. Digitalization took big steps forward, both during the pandemic and afterwards. At the same time, risk thinking became more sophisticated with an increased focus on security. We also learnt to take advantage of the fact that we work in a different time zone from many of our clients and partners. Working from any geographical location became a matter of course and a new normal in the post pandemic world. People are more comfortable with working across borders and accessing talent globally.

How can trade relations between Sri Lanka and Sweden develop?

Sweden and the rest of the Nordic region, along with the US, UK, Australia and the Middle East, are key markets for Sri Lanka’s IT / BPM sector. We recognize that we have a job to do to raise awareness of what Sri Lanka can offer. Therefore, co-operation with the SSLBC is key, as well as with chambers of commerce at national and regional level. We would welcome online and in-person meetings including inward missions and matchmaking. Industry and financial analysts have a growing role in this work through their in-depth analyses that contribute to sophisticated knowledge dissemination. We welcome visits from analysts and journalists and those keen to understand firsthand Sri Lanka’s fast-growing IT/BPM sector, world class talent and partnership opportunities.

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 :

www.ioraconclave.lk  

ADB Outlook

ADB Forecasts Developing Asia and the Pacific’s Economy to Grow 4.9% in 2024
Developing economies in Asia and the Pacific are forecast to expand this year as the region continues its resilient growth amid robust domestic demand, according to ADB’s flagship economic report.Policymakers, however, should monitor several risks. Escalating conflicts and geopolitical tensions could disrupt supply chains and amplify commodity price volatility. Uncertainty about US monetary policy, property market stress in the People’s Republic of China, and the effects of adverse weather are other challenges for the region

Three Quick Ones -Daniel Hörnqvist CEO Frank Dandy

3 quick questions to Frank Dandy about moving production to Sri Lanka

Since 2017, Daniel Hörnqvist has been the CEO of the Swedish fashion brand Frank Dandy. When he took over, he brought with him extensive experience from e-commerce and the outdoor market. This included responsibility for the launch of the e-commerce brand Bikester in the Nordic region in 2013. In 2015 he took on a position as board member at Frank Dandy before moving on to an executive role. One of the most important decisions in recent years for Frank Dandy has been to move manufacturing to Sri Lanka.

What is Frank Dandy’s market position?

We address a clearly defined target group between 20 and 30 years of age outside the metropolitan areas. The target group has a desire to achieve high personal goals and we provide secret superpowers to enable that. This promise permeates all our communication, not at least the visual. We are mainly present in the Nordic region and work with the same brand position in all geographical markets. A solid sustainability practice is also extremely important to us, especially from an employer brand perspective. Frank Dandy is affiliated with the initiative Better cotton and we only use recycled polyester in our swimwear. I would also like to mention our ownership program for our employees.

Why did you move manufacturing to Sri Lanka?

The decision to move manufacturing from China was made with the experience of the pandemic and in light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We needed to increase our geopolitical preparedness. I had met lot of positive mentioning about manufacturing in Sri Lanka and as well had my own personal experience from a surf trip a few years earlier. Since the move to Sri Lanka, our experience has been consistently positive. The Sri Lankan manufacturing industry is technically advanced, and we can follow the manufacturing of our products in real time from Sweden. The Sri Lankan manufacturing industry’s sustainability ambitions are high, both in terms of renewable electricity use and in the development of sustainable wastewater systems from production. The country is buzzing with growth and the high level of education is evident in everything.

What has the membership of the Sweden-Sri Lanka Business Council meant?

The membership was an incredible door opener when we were in the process of evaluating whether to move manufacturing to Sri Lanka. It helped us build relationships that I don’t think would have been possible otherwise. To spread our risks, we moved our manufacturing gradually and without the support of the SSLBC it would have been much more complicated.

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.

Invitation for Proposals: Development of 50MW Wind Farm Facility at Mannar, Sri Lanka

The Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee of the Ministry of Power and Energy extends an invitation for proposals regarding the development of a 50MW Wind Farm Facility in Mannar, Sri Lanka, operating under a Build, Own, and Operate (BOO) arrangement.

This project stands as a cornerstone in Sri Lanka’s ongoing endeavors to bolster renewable energy initiatives, reinforce energy security, and combat greenhouse gas emissions.

We kindly request your assistance in ensuring adequate publicity for the aforementioned notice among the potential bidders.

Attached herewith is the document which provides comprehensive details on accessing the Request for Proposals (RFP), submission guidelines, and essential contact information for any inquiries or clarifications. Furthermore, the RFP document will be made available for inspection at https://www.ceb.lk/tender-notice/en

Submission Deadline: May 09, 2024

For additional information, please visit our website at https://www.ceb.lk/

Ball in Sri Lanka’s court’ as Japan seeks to deepen ties in bid to counter China’s Indo-Pacific influence

  • Sri Lanka’s 2020 decision to drop a light rail project financed by Japanese companies led to friction between the countries, amid Colombo’s pivot to China
  • Japan has become more ‘astute’ in its approach to Sri Lanka, given its interest in a rules-based Indo-Pacific region and countering Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3254971/ball-sri-lankas-court-japan-seeks-deepen-ties-bid-counter-chinas-indo-pacific-influence