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ASOKA HETTIGODA, ELECTS PRESIDENT OF SL-GERMANY BUSINESS COUNCIL

Lankapuvath | Colombo | 01-10-2023 |
By Claude Gunasekera | The 24th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka – Germany Business Council was held recently, at the Hilton Colombo Residences, Colombo 2. Mr. Asoka Hettigoda, Chairman & Managing Director of Hettigoda Industries (Pvt) Ltd was elected by the Members as the President for the year 2023-2024. During his speech, he thanked the members for electing him as the president and stated that the Sri Lanka Germany Business Council would like to assure that they would do their utmost to increase Sri Lankan trade and investment with Germany.

Chief guest at the event, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Germany in Sri Lanka, Mr. Olaf Malchow, acknowledged Sri Lanka’s efforts and positive results with regard to economic recovery. He however stressed that market liberalization, investment promotion and the implementation of robust-anti corruption measures would create the right conditions to set Sri Lanka more firmly on the path to sustainable growth.


In 1999, a proposal made by the Deputy Ambassador for Germany in Sri Lanka Dr. Hans Von Bothmer resulted in the formation of Sri Lanka – Germany Business Council and Late Mr. R Sivaratnam, Chairman and Managing Director, Aitken Spence & Co. Ltd., was appointed as the 1st President of the Council. For the last 24 years, Sri Lanka Germany Business Council has been fostering trade relations between the two countries and has extended yeoman service to both countries by bringing the value of trade to US $ 1.1 billion.

For the last 24 years, SLGBC has been fostering new initiatives and areas of corporation between business communities of the two countries with the exchange of trade missions, delegations, new investments and joint ventures and have extended yeoman service to both countries.
The Primary Objectives of the Sri Lanka Germany Business Council are:

• To promote trade, tourism and services between Sri Lanka and Germany
• To encourage German investment and establishment of joint ventures in Sri Lanka between German and Sri Lanka investors.
• To exchange information on trade and investment between the two countries
• To conduct and facilitate joint meetings with German business organizations
• To promote Sri Lankan participation in international fairs in Germany.

Mr. Karim Schadlou, General Manager, Hilton Colombo Residences and Mr. Roy Anthony, Director of C.G.V Anthony & Sons (Pvt) Ltd were elected as Vice Presidents. The Member Companies Air Global (Pvt) Ltd, Aitken Spence Cargo (Pvt) Ltd, Aitken Spence, Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Autobahn (Pvt) Ltd, Central Bearings and Machinery (Pvt) Ltd, Detroves Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Dial Textile Industries (Pvt) Ltd, Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC, MAC Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and Malship (Ceylon) Ltd were elected to the Committee.

The outgoing President, Mr. Surendra Ediriweera, Managing Director, Ceylon Tours Ltd will continue to serve on the Committee as the Immediate Past President.

For further details regarding membership of the Council, please contact the Secretariat of the Sri Lanka – Germany Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, No. 50, Navam Mawatha, Colombo 2. E-mail: bizpromo@chamber.lk or Tel.: 011 5588829/ 5588800.

Executive Committee 2023/2024

Mr. Karim Schadlou, Vice president, Mr. Surendra Ediriweera, Immediate past president, Mr. Olaf Malchow, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Germany in Sri Lanka, Mr. Asoka Hettigoda, president, Ms. Julianne Boulton, Secretariat of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Roy Anthony, Vice president. (Committee members): Ms. Dhilmini Palipane, Mr. Rajieve Fernando, Mr. Sudath Tennakoon, Mr. Suranga Ratnayake, Mr. Gayan Maddumarachchi, Mr. Nalaka Amaratunga, Mr. Gerard Victoria, Mr. Aflal Khan Ismail, Mr. Mark Francis, Ms. Amanthi Silva, Secretariat of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce





India and Sri Lanka commit to more cooperation in education and skills training at ITEC Day Celebration

Lankapuvath | Colombo | 01-10-2023 |
High Commission of India | Colombo | PRESS RELEASE | Uploaded by Claude Gunasekera

To mark 59 years of capacity building partnership between India and Sri Lanka through Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), High Commission of India in Colombo celebrated ITEC Day 2023 on 27 September 2023.

Dr. Suren Raghavan, State Minister of Higher Education and Dr. Satyanjal Pandey, Deputy High Commissioner graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour respectively. The event was attended by over 100 participants, which included ITEC alumni from Sri Lanka, officials and professionals from diverse sectors who have participated in various training courses in India under different ITEC programmes.

In his address, State Minister of Higher Education lauded the historically close relations between India and Sri Lanka. Dr. Raghavan congratulated India for the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission and especially praised Indian women scientists involved in the lunar mission. He appreciated India for offering ITEC slots and annual scholarships to Sri Lankan nationals, and thanked India for the financial support extended to Sri Lanka in recent months. Hon. Minister highlighted the scope for further cooperation between India and Sri Lanka in the field of higher education, skill development and capacity building, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and IT sectors. He encouraged the beneficiaries of ITEC programmes to contribute not only the development of Sri Lanka but also to take India - Sri Lanka relationship to the next level.

Speaking on the occasion, the Deputy High Commissioner noted the enormous interest shown by Sri Lankan officials for the ITEC programme over the years. Deputy High Commissioner highlighted India’s endeavor to help Sri Lanka in the education sector, including in higher education through partnership between higher education institutes in India and Sri Lanka, besides the current 402 ITEC slots annually. Deputy High Commissioner reiterated that India is guided by the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ which means ‘the world is one family’ and India would continue to be in the forefront of capacity building programmes for Sri Lanka.

Senior officials reminisced and shared their experiences of ITEC training in India and appreciated the holistic content of the different ITEC programmes such as Gender Responsive Governance, Climate Change Policy Development and Financing for Effective Implementation of SDGs, Integrating Industry Four Dot Zero (4.0) Competency and Twenty First Century Skills in Educational Institutions, and Parliamentary Internship program.

ITEC is a flagship programme of the Government of India launched in September 1964 for extending technical assistance and building capacities of developing countries. It has emerged as an important vehicle for India’s contribution to human resource development of partner countries with over 200,000 persons from 160 fellow developing countries having participated in the programme. Sri Lanka is currently allotted 402 training slots annually for the ITEC programme. ‘ITEC Day’ is celebrated every year by Indian diplomatic Missions all over the world to mark this unique pillar of South-South partnership.

INS Nireekshak visits Trincomalee for SLN Diver Training

Lankapuvath | Colombo | 17-09-2023 |
PRESS RELEASE | High Commission of India Colombo | Posted by Claude Gunasekera | Indian Naval Ship ‘Nireekshak’, a highly advanced diving support ship of the Indian Navy, arrived at the port of Trincomalee on 14 September 2023 for facilitating Mixed Gas Diving training for the Sri Lanka Navy.

The ship was warmly welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions. Post arrival, Commanding Officer of the Indian Naval ship, Commander Jeetu Singh Chauhan called on Commander of Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral PS De Silva. They held cordial discussions on furthering training in diving during the eight-day deployment. Engagements such yoga onboard, interaction with School children and beach cleaning are being undertaken by the personnel onboard. 28th Anniversary Celebration onboard the ship was attended by the Deputy Area Commander.

Indian Naval Ship ‘Nireekshak’ (A-15) is equipped with two six-man recompression chambers and one three-man diving bell. The ship is fully capable to undertake rescue operations from a submarine in distress and training of saturation divers. The ship had earlier visited Trincomalee in September 2019 and March 2022 for a similar training deployment for SLN divers. Such continued engagement of Indian Naval ships with the Sri Lanka Navy is in keeping with Government of India's capacity building initiative as part of its 'Neighborhood First' policy.


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Service extended of SL Honorary Consul in Belgium

Lankapuvath | Colombo | 08-09-2023 |
Embassy of Sri Lanka IN Brussels | Monique De Decker-Deprez, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Antwerp, Belgium, received her Letter of Service Extension from Grace Asirwatham, Ambassador in Brussels.

Monique De Decker-Deprez embarked on her distinguished journey as Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Antwerp in July 1997, and her unwavering dedication has seen her successfully serve in this capacity for an impressive 26 years. She was honoured with the national title of "Sri Lanka Ranjana" in 2005 by the Government of Sri Lanka in recognition of her outstanding contribution to promoting bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Belgium.

In her capacity as the Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka, Monique De Decker-Deprez holds the pivotal position of President of the Consular Union, representing nearly one hundred and twenty Honorary Consuls in Belgium, each representing various countries.

Antwerp is Belgium's economic powerhouse, which houses one of Europe's major ports. Antwerp's economic, cultural, and diplomatic significance within Belgium and the concentration of a Sri Lankan community there made it a crucial location for the establishment of the Honorary Consulate of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka to assume the Chairmanship of IORA

Lankapuvath | Colombo | 08-09-2023 |
Sri Lanka to assume the Chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), 2023 – 2025
Sri Lanka will assume the Chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) for the period 2023 to 2025 at the forthcoming 23rd Council of Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Sri Lanka on 11 October 2023 in Colombo. The Council of Ministers’ Meeting will be preceded by the 25th Meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials. This is the second time that Sri Lanka will assume the IORA Chairmanship, having previously served as the Chair from 2003 to 2004.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association is the only intergovernmental regional forum that brings together 23 littoral states of the Indian Ocean. There are also 11 Dialogue Partners in the Association. Sri Lanka is a founding member of the Association. The Indian Ocean Rim Association marked its 25th anniversary in 2022.

The Council of Ministers is the highest decision making body of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, and Foreign Minister Ali Sabry will be the Chair of the Council of Ministers during Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship. Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardane will chair IORA Senior Officials Meeting preceding the Council of Ministers.

Sri Lanka has chosen ‘Strengthening Regional Architecture: Reinforcing Indian Ocean Identity’ as the theme for its Chairmanship of IORA. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 23 Member States and the 11 Dialogue Partners or their representatives and Senior Officials are expected to attend the Indian Ocean Rim Association Council of Ministers and Committee of Senior Officials meetings in Colombo in October 2023.

The Member States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association are Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Dialogue Partners are China, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, UK and USA.

The primary objectives of the Indian Ocean Rim Association are to promote regional economic integration, enhance trade and investment, facilitate sustainable development, and strengthen maritime safety and security and it focuses on several priority areas, including maritime safety and security, trade and investment facilitation, fisheries management, disaster risk reduction, academic and scientific cooperation, tourism and cultural exchanges, and women's economic empowerment.

The Secretariat for Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship of IORA will function under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Executive Director General Prof Sudharshan Seneviratne, former High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Bangladesh. Officials of the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) and Sri Lanka Navy will be attached to the Secretariat, along with senior officials of the Foreign Ministry.

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Delhi departs Colombo

Lankapuvath | Colombo | 08-09-2023 |
INS Delhi’, India’s first indigenously built Destroyer departed Colombo on 03 September 2023, after completing a successful goodwill visit.

High Commissioner of India H.E Gopal Baglay hosted a reception onboard INS Delhi on 02 September 2023. Hon. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena was the Chief Guest at the event. Ministers, Parliamentarians, Commanders of the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka and several others from all walks of life also graced the occasion. High Commissioner presented a ready to use HADR Medical (Aarogya Maitri) kit to Hon. Speaker for use by Government of Sri Lanka.

Speaking at the event, Hon. Speaker thanked Government of India for the special medical kit. He also recalled India’s unprecedented support to Sri Lanka in 2022. High Commissioner noted that the visit of INS Delhi was symbolic of the strong bonds of friendship between the two closest maritime neighbours in the region – India and Sri Lanka.

Commanding Officer of INS Delhi, Captain Abhishek Kumar called on Commander Western Naval Area during the visit and paid respects to the brave Indian soldiers at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) memorial. Crew of the Ship undertook various initiatives like Yoga and beach cleaning along with Sri Lanka Navy. In addition, a Maritime Partnership Exercise was also conducted off Colombo, post-departure on 03 September 2023.

The Ship was open for school children and general public on 01 September 2023. Further, there were familiarization tour of the ship and various professional interactions for Sri Lanka Navy personnel.

It may be recalled that Indian Naval Ship Khanjar had earlier visited Trincomalee from 28-31 July 2023 for operational turnaround. Visits by Indian Navy vessels in Sri Lanka are aimed at consolidating camaraderie and interoperability between the two neighbouring friendly Navies, which is in keeping with India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) doctrine and ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

UNIDO SUPPORTS SRI LANKAN FARMERS TO ACCESS GLOBAL MARKETS

Lankapuvath | Colombo | 08-09-2023 |
Ministry of Agriculture and the EU-funded BESPA-FOOD project implemented by UNIDO support farmer communities to access global markets.

The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)’s Agriculture Sector Modernization Project (ASMP) partnered with the European Union (EU) funded BESPA-FOOD project, implemented by the United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO), to enable rural farmer community organizations to access knowledge products and technical support to enhance the agro-food sector value chain.
The initiative was the first step in the ASMP’s long-term vision to enable its farmer community organizations formally established as Public Unlisted Companies (PUC), to access all knowledge products generated from European Union and World Bank-funded agriculture projects in Sri Lanka.
“The EU is pleased to see that our projects complement each other well. Working collaboratively is crucial for delivering better results more effectively and efficiently for the communities we serve” said the Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka & Maldives, Dr Johann HESSE. “It is also critical to guarantee that every euro (or dollar) is spent wisely and productively.”
Sharing his views at the event, the Hon. Minister said that the ASMP project had successfully introduced technology in some sectors such as the chili growing and processing industry, where some farmers have been able to earn a much higher income. “During my last visit to an ASMP project cluster, I observed how farmers were being trained to grow new or known crops on a large scale, apply new technology, and adapt to the requirements of the market. I would like to thank the ASMP project and agencies like the EU, UNIDO and the World Bank for supporting the agriculture sector to enhance its income potential.”
As part of the initiative, UNIDO handed over a set of publications covering Quality, Food Safety, and Packaging Fundamentals, specially developed for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Developed in all three languages, the set of publications were presented to ten PUCs from Northern, NC, Central, UVA, and Eastern province.
“We aim to increase the competitiveness of Sri Lankan SMEs in regional and EU markets to support trade-led growth. We have supported the development of a national Packaging Testing Centre and work closely with institutions to ensure enterprises along the agro-food value chain are on par with global standards, giving them easy access to export markets,” said UNIDO International Senior Specialist Jairo A. Villamil-Diaz (Ph.D.). He further added that “we look forward to working closely with all the EU and World Bank funded agro-food projects coming under the Ministry of Agriculture and the ASMP.”
The five-year ASMP project under the Ministry of Agriculture is implemented with US$ 58.63 million in funding support from the World Bank in five provinces and seven districts covering Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Matale, and Monaragala. The EU is providing US$ 28 million in additional support to expand the project to Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Ampara, Badulla, and Kandy and Jaffna (shared district with WB) increasing the total number of districts up to 12 in 6 provinces.
The 3-year BESPA FOOD project is funded by the EU with EUR 6.5 million and implemented by UNIDO and FAO.