Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama together with Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) Chairperson and Chief Executive Indira Malwatte met with the organising committee and subcommittee members, as well as sponsors and partners for a progress review meeting of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2016.
“This is one of the biggest events the new government has undertaken. We are well on track to making it an exceptional global conference,” Samarawickrama stated.
As of the date of this meeting, the conference had 361 registered foreign participants and 282 registered local participants, a number that is rapidly growing, with more registrations expected within the one-month countdown for the event.
WEDF 2016, a globally represented two-day forum facilitating international trade, is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka on October 12 and 13. The International Trade Centre (ITC) together with the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry of Sri Lanka, through the EDB, is organising the conference, themed ‘Trade for success: Connect, compete, change’. Of a number of 44 speakers in total, 32 are international speakers, including policymakers, trade experts, trade analysts and business leaders.
All those present were taken through the various areas of focus by the specific subcommittees, with the sponsors being briefed on stall plans for the mini exhibition, which would host a total of 48 booths at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), the venue for the event.
DFCC Bank PLC, the exclusive banking partner for the event, and Brandix, exclusive sectorial partner representing Sri Lanka’s apparel sector are Platinum sponsors. Expolanka Holdings and Link Natural Products will be Gold sponsors at WEDF 2016, with Nestlé Lanka PLC, Dialog Axiata PLC and CIC Holdings joining in as Silver sponsors. Country’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines is on-board as the official airline partner of the event. EWIS Information Systems takes on the role of IT partner of the conference, with Wijeya Newspapers stepping in as the preferred local print media partner.
“To the sponsors and partners of this event, thank you for showing us your support,” Samarawickrama added.
“Today the public and private sectors are working together to stage a much-anticipated international conference. The important thing to remember is we need to continue this pace and keep working at it, since the whole world is watching. We need to continue this momentum because there are far greater heights that can be reached based on the success of this summit.”
Additionally, a progress report was given on the business-to-business (B2B) meetings, one of the main attractions of the conference. Registered companies have a promising networking platform to expedite business opportunities and partnerships, both regionally and globally. Sectors such as tourism, information and communication technology (ICT), apparel and most importantly manufacturing will be covered for high-potential buyers and sellers at these meetings.
As of the date of this meeting, a total of 100 Sri Lankan companies have registered for the B2B meetings. The number of international buyers registered under the EDB is 62, with a final target of 50, with the ITC also targeting to bring in 50 more international buyers, out of which 32 have already registered.
“We are thrilled with the number of registrations that are pouring in,” Malwatte stated.
“It shows that Sri Lanka is today looked upon as an investment-friendly country. We must show the world we are capable of hosting events of such global prominence and keep moving ahead in the same direction, aiming to host events such as the World Economic Forum in the future.”
The branding, advertising, event setup, main forum setup, committee rooms, breakout session rooms and trade stall options were also discussed at length by the organisers.