WEF enhances engagement with Sri Lanka - Opportunity Sri Lanka
WEF enhances engagement with Sri Lanka

WEF enhances engagement with Sri Lanka

• World Economic Forum enhances engagement with SL.
• A key focus of Prof. Rösler’s visit is also to encourage Sri Lanka to take an active part at the forthcoming WEF India Economic Summit in New Delhi in early October.
• Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board Dr. Philipp Rösler, 1st high profile official to visit Sri Lanka.
• WEF already has strong engagements with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and according to Prof. Rösler, given the new Government’s proactive stance, the WEF is also building a strong relationship with Sri Lanka.
• Meets with Prime Minister and 3 Ministers to discuss way forward and support for transformation in Sri Lanka via WEF-championed 4th Industrial Revolution focus.
• Initiatives to be spearheaded by Premier and Minister Samarawickrama who also serves on the WEF Steering Board of Future of Production Initiative
• Big Lankan delegation likely to attend WEF India Economic Summit in New Delhi, on 6-7 October
• The influential World Economic Forum is enhancing its engagement with Sri Lanka, with a keenness to help the transformation of the country under good governance and policies.
• WEF expects Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to continue to reach out to the world and spearhead the transformation process in Sri Lanka.
• Minister Samarawickrama also serves on the WEF Steering Board of Future of Production initiative.
• Among other things, the India Economic Summit will focus on mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how countries can become an innovation-driven manufacturing hub; what are the skills needed, the investment in digital infrastructure, and what will be the national policy to support this technological development?
• Singapore leads the report’s Networked Readiness Index, followed by Finland, Sweden, Norway and the United States .

Recently the first visit by a high-profile official saw WEF expressing serious interest as well as lending its support to Sri Lanka .
The Geneva-based WEF Head of the Centre for Regional Strategies, Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board Dr. Philipp Rösler met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama, Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake and Public Enterprise Development Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne .
Additionally Dr. Rösler who was accompanied by WEF Community Specialist, Regional Strategies for India and South Asia Indira Kithsiri, who is overseeing Sri Lanka, also met with the newly-set-up Agency for International Development CEO Mangala Yapa and Global Shapers Colombo Hub, a WEF-backed initiative engaging next generation of leaders .
The breakfast meeting with the On 19 July, Rösler also met with Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando when the latter was invited to a WEF-initiated workshop titled ‘Digital in South Asia’ in New Delhi .
The visit by Dr. Rösler as part of its growing commitment to Sri Lanka was following Premier Wickremesinghe’s meeting with WEF Founder and Co-Chair Prof. Klaus Schwab in Davos in January this year. Thereafter a follow up Sri Lankan delegation visited Geneva and Minister Samarawickrama led a Lankan delegation to the WEF Annual Meeting of the New Champions in June in Tianjin, China.

The Tainjin meeting was under the theme ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Its Transformational Impact’. WEF is championing the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres .
In an exclusive interview Prof. Rösler told the Daily FT that WEF is a trusted partner in transformation for the world and many countries. “We see amazing progress in Sri Lanka and we like to play a key role in this process,” he added .
“The new Government is quite engaged with WEF and its activities so it is only natural for us to come to Sri Lanka and further engage with the Government,” said Prof. Rosler who was a former Minister and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany .
“We see much better growth in Sri Lanka than in the rest of the world. Sri Lanka has the potential to grow better to ensure rapid yet sustainable socio-economic prosperity. The Government has undertaken a lot of reforms, which is very encouraging, and over time benefits will be felt by the people .
Sri Lanka can certainly become a hub in South Asia,” said Prof. Rösler, for whom it was the first visit to Sri Lanka .
He also said that WEF found out more about Sri Lanka’s digitalisation strategy during the ‘Digital in South Asia’ event. “We were impressed by the Government and Minister Harin Fernando’s energy and vision for digital agenda in Sri Lanka,” he added .
It was pointed out that investment in infrastructure including ICT and new technologies is key. “Sri Lanka also can improve competitiveness and attract more foreign direct investments by implementing reforms in financial, labour and education sectors,” he added .
“We see much better growth in Sri Lanka than in the rest of the world .
Sri Lanka has the potential to grow better to ensure rapid yet sustainable socio-economic prosperity .
”The Government has undertaken a lot of reforms, which is very encouraging, and over time benefits will be felt by the people. Sri Lanka can certainly become a hub in South Asia – Geneva-based WEF Head of the Centre for Regional Strategies Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board Dr. Philipp Rösler” .
Convening under the theme ‘Fostering an Inclusive India through Digital Transformation,’ the summit will welcome over 500 participants from business, politics, academia, civil society, international organisations, arts and culture, media and members of the Forum’s communities, including Social Entrepreneurs, Global Shapers and Young Global Leaders .
The WEF last month released the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016 which found seven countries are excelling when it comes to economically benefiting from investments in information and communications technologies .
The report finds nations’ capacity to innovate is increasing across the board, although few have been successful so far in translating these investments into meaningful economic or social impact.

Singapore leads the report’s Networked Readiness Index, followed by Finland, Sweden, Norway and the United States .
Prof. Rösler said WEF champions public private cooperation to achieve common goals. He explained: “Public sector means government and regulators. Private sector means businesses, civil society, academics and youth. We bring all together.”

Referring to his meeting with Agriculture Minister Dissanayake, he said among topics discussed were the WEF initiative known as ‘New Vision for Agriculture’ which focuses on smallholder farms promoting sustainable and efficient agriculture among other initiatives .
Minister Dissanayake and his team attended the Grow Asia Forum in Kuala Lumpur last May to learn more about the New Vision for Agriculture’s country partnership model and explore how this model could be taken forward in Sri Lanka .
OSL Take:

We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another .
In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before .
We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.
• The 1st Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production.
• The 2nd used electric power to create mass production.
• The 3rd used electronics and information technology to automate production.
• Now a 4th Industrial Revolution is building on the 3rd, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres .
Sri Lanka doesn’t want to be left behind amidst such dramatic global change and the USD 44 billion Western Region Megapolis Masterplan (WRMM) launched as the flagship mega-project by the unity government is designed primarily to include Sri Lanka in this transformation agenda .
OSL as the leading promoter of FDI’s in to the island wants partnerships and joint ventures to take up the 140 mega-projects outlined in the WRMM under the PPP investment model .
Hence, potential overseas investors could register their sector-wise investment interest with OSL now to make their footprint in the island, which is fast emerging as the next Asian trading power hub with port and airport expansions already half-way in to completion .
Feel free to ask for a country overview with the biz-friendly OSL Team now to learn more .

Prof. Rösler holds a PhD from Hannover Medical School and is trained as a Medical Specialist and as a Medical Officer, Bundeswehr .
For several years he served as Parliamentary Group Chairman and Minister of Economics, Labour and Transport of the state of Lower Saxony and until May 2011 as Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Germany .
He is a former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, and Federal Chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) .

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Article Code : VBS/AT/09082016/Z-4

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