Gateway to Africa the market worth $ 3.4 t | Daily FT

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given considerable prominence to the African continent in his Presidential Proclamation on the 75th anniversary of independence.

On the back of that momentous announcement, International Advisory Chairman Ranjeev Gunawardene has taken the initiative to sponsor and organize the inaugural conference, held on 27 March, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and the Sri Lankan High Commission in Pretoria.

The conference was oversubscribed and many companies were unable to attend due to the heavy demand for registration.

The inaugural conference focused on discussions on doing business in Mozambique. Mozambique’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Silvino Augusto José Moreno, delivered the keynote address and opening remarks. Stating that their country is ready, willing and able, open to do business and welcomes Sri Lankan companies to establish developing opportunities with mutual significant interest. In particular the key areas covered are; electric power, civil construction, engineering services and telecommunication sectors.

Gil Byers, Director General of the Mozambique Investment and Export Promotion Agency (APIEX), made keynote presentations, talking about the legal framework for investment and business opportunities in Mozambique. followed by Small Hydro Sustainable Solutions, Renewable Energy; The wind, solar investment was handled by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Opportunities in the construction sector are presented by the Ministry of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources. The final introduction was then done by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Sri Lanka Exports: Development Board Export Services Director Indumini Kodikara, who is responsible for improving service export performance, moderated the conference. Sanjeev Ranasinghe Bandara, former Commercial Secretary, Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria moderated the question-and-answer session.

At the conference, Ranjeev Gunawardena, chairman of International Consultants, said that Sri Lankan companies have a competitive edge over Western Hemisphere rivals because of their relatively low labor costs. The quality of Sri Lankan work is of international standard or even better than their competitors in Europe.

The African market is worth $3.4 trillion, comprising 54 countries with a population of 1.3 billion. Right now African countries are coming together to create a single market that, as we speak, is a work in progress similar to the European Union. African Union Free Trade Agreement where goods and services can be manufactured in any African country and exported without paying duties or fees in coming times.

An important factor is that a large number of African countries are considered least developed economies, meaning that under the United Nations description they qualify for official development assistance, debt relief, technical assistance, among other forms of support. Will be eligible for business preferences and financial aid. This means that they have duty-free access to the European and American markets, allowing Sri Lankan companies to manufacture goods and services on the African continent while also having access to the three markets under this agreement. Free access in America, Europe and African Union countries.

In the closing remarks which were made by Ranjeev Gunawardena who emphasized that there is funding available from the US for projects in the African continent. On March 26, US Vice President Kamala Harris landed in Africa. Will visit Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. Seeking to gain influence on the continent and become its preferred partner, he has pledged $55 billion in financial aid. The European Union has also pledged 150 billion euros, equivalent to $170 billion, for investment in Africa.

International consultants can access this type of funding for projects in the African continent. As we have been extensively liaising and working relationships with financial providers for many years on various projects.

The summit has provided a great opportunity for Sri Lankan companies and corporations to see the alternative African market. This is one way Sri Lanka can pull itself out of the current economic crisis that has engulfed the country.

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