Sri Lanka High Commission in South Africa participated in a Bilateral Trade and Investment Seminar organized by National Chamber of Commerce (NCC) in Sri Lanka, on 20 July 2022. Representing the High Commission were High Commissioner Prof. Gamini Gunawardane and Second Secretary (Commercial) Thiloka Perera.
A large number of NCC members, representatives of EDB, BOI, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Sri Lankan business community participated at this event.
High Commissioner of South Africa in Sri Lanka Sandile Edwin Schalk delivered a speech followed by a presentation by the Third Secretary of the High Commission of South Africa. They highlighted South Africa’s current trade and investment structure, economic performance and projections, and trade agreements such as The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Agreement between 15 African countries and the European Union-South African Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement. Renewable energy, Agriculture, IT sectors as potential trade and investment areas were highlighted.
Second Secretary (Commercial) Thiloka Perera made a PowerPoint presentation on “The Role of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Promoting Trade between Sri Lanka and South Africa (as well as nine other African countries, represented by the High Commission: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini). She presented recent activities of the High Commission to support Sri Lankan companies such as facilitating visits to South Africa especially trade fairs, organizing B2B meetings, informative webinars, and technical level meetings. She highlighted as potential areas: IT Services (Software Development/ Financial Technology, Information Security/ Digital Marketing and Advertising, Renewable Energy Sector (Mini Hydro/ Wind/ Solar), Fisheries Development (Boat Building/ Fishing Technology Training), Construction and Construction Services (Industrial Park/Real Estate/ Infrastructure/ Water).
The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka emphasized that local businesses should focus not only on South Africa but on other African east countries as well such as Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi. He highlighted that the provision of, and subcontracting for, services, and not export of traditional goods, is the modern day priority. He also emphasized on the need for Sri Lankan business to attend major international trade fairs in Africa and engaging capable agents to promote their products and services.
Director of Board PAC Pvt Ltd Sashiprabha Dharmadasa presented a case study on their success in the South African Market. High Commissioner Gunawardane recalled contacts between BoardPac and the High Commission, and the latter’s modest efforts in providing potential leads.
At the end of the presentations, a lively questions and answers session took place where the participating companies were able to interact with the High Commissioners of Sri Lanka and South Africa who provided additional information on exploring potential markets, in general, and in certain specific sectors such as food products, electrical/electronic goods, tourism, vocational training, and logistics/shipping services.
Sri Lanka High Commission
28 July 2023