Now that the three decade long war is over, the North and East of Sri Lanka are fast becoming hot spots for change and potential business investment.
Business for Peace Alliance (BizPAct) is organizing the first major post-war investment Forum in Jaffna, which will take place from January 6 to 8 in Jaffna. Both national and international investors and entrepreneurs are expected to take part.
After the tsunami, there was a general acceptance of aid and a handout mentality ensued.
BizPAct, a long-term programme designed by BPA, is trying to move away from this mentality. Rather than spoon-feeding people, they are interested in regional development where the people are actively involved with the running of things.
The people of the North have asked for the opening of the A9 highway, trade between North and South, the lifting of fisheries ban and a more developed banking system, said Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Secretary General/CEO Harin Malwatta.
The forum will focus on a wide range of economic development opportunities for small and medium enterprises. It will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to network and reflect on responsible development in the post conflict areas of the Northern and Eastern Province.
"We are requesting the Sri Lankan Diaspora abroad to come back and invest with partners in Sri Lanka," said BPA Project Chairman and Director C. J. Gunaseela, .
The North has excellent investment prospects, and all types of business ventures are encouraged by the private and public sectors as well as the diaspora. Investments are not restricted to Jaffna. Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Mannar, Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Monaragala are all locations to be considered.
The two-day programme includes an interactive forum, a series of field visits to project locations, opportunities to link with business leaders in the North and East and exchange sample products.
A large number of participants are expected both international as well as domestic and those from the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
At the moment, the country’s main GDP comes from the Western Province. Since the end of the war a number of private sector businesses have invested in the North and the East.
This number will continue to rise and BizPAct’s Investment Forum will be a milestone in the field of investment and development in the North and East.