Welcome Message from the President of Sri Lanka for CBF2013
On behalf of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, I extend my warm greetings and best wishes to the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF). The CBF is an integral part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that is being jointly organized by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth Business Council. Sri Lanka, as a founder member of the modern Commonwealth, considers it a great honour to host CHOGM and its parallel events.
The theme of CBF 2013 is “Partnership for Wealth Creation and Social Development: The Commonwealth, Indian Ocean and SAARC”. This theme is indeed timely and relevant to us for several reasons. First, South Asia is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world today, although equitable wealth creation is still a challenge for the policy makers. Second, social development, which is fostered by inclusive growth strategies, has been lagging in several countries in the Commonwealth including some in the Indian Ocean regions, and private entrepreneurship, global linkages and strong institutional support are therefore needed to sustain this growth momentum and make it inclusive.
In that background, the time is now ripe for the Commonwealth, Indian Ocean and SAARC countries to use the opportunities of their long standing relationships as they move into this new era of development.
The Commonwealth has a combination of developed and developing countries with diverse cultures and traditions. This diversity creates a fertile ground for the exchange of technological know-how, skills and investments that would foster sustainable economic partnerships between businesses and Governments in the Commonwealth. While technology and investment are necessary, nations must also develop healthy interactions to build strong institutions that could convert the decisions and agreements reached at these international fora, into realistic practices and processes that would deliver the desired outcomes.
Sri Lanka is delighted to host CBF 2013 as we too have embarked on a journey of rapid and inclusive growth. The country is now well positioned to become an important economic centre in the region, with the launch of an ambitious five hub strategy for economic development. Under this strategy, aviation, commercial, energy, knowledge and naval hubs will connect South Asia to the rest of the world.
I am confident that the Governments, businesses and all other participants at this forum will benefit by the opportunity to network and build lasting relationships. Needless to say, the benefits of partnerships amongst us, can lead to significant growth, improving the prospects of all participants to serve their communities and countries.
Let me therefore, with great pleasure, welcome you to the Commonwealth Business Forum 2013 in Colombo, and wish you success in all your endeavours.
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
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