The Bank of Ceylon’s (BOC) Chairman, Ronald C. Perera joined the ‘Belt and Road Initiatives- Bankers Roundtable’ discussion held recently in Beijing China, as the only Sri Lankan to participate at this summit.
The bankers’ roundtable was conducted in line with the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ forum that took place in May 15th.
The event was hosted by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). With the Bank’s strong ties with many of these international banks and the importance of its role in the Sri Lankan banking industry, Bank of Ceylon was invited to represent the country in this forum and was able to further strengthen its ties and collaboration with international banking giants such as ICBC, Asian Development Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank, Bank of China, J.P Morgan and Chase, Habib Bank Pakistan, and with many other leading foreign banks.
Perera exchanged opinion and views about ‘Joint effects of banking sector in supporting the Belt and Road initiatives; from guidelines to action’ and discussed matters pertaining to these ‘initiatives’ with delegates who participated in the roundtable discussion. During his speech at the round table Perera mentioned about the history of co-operation between China and Sri Lanka which spread over a 1000 years and also the present Chinese investment in Sri Lanka setting out the importance of Sri Lanka as a maritime and economic hub in the Indian Ocean.
Stating that the Indian Ocean remains the key to Asian prosperity he pointed out that the Indian Ocean envisages at its core, an ocean free of conflict, despite competing economic interest, with lanes of comfort, ease and safety of passage, freedom of navigation, secure and sustainable use of resources for economic advancement of states in an equitable manner is imperative. Proposed by the Government of China, the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ is said to provide a visionary blueprint for global economic development in the world by offering modern-day solutions for a seamless flow of capital, goods and services between Asia and the rest of the world, taking reference from the historic ‘Silk Road’.
The initiative looks into key areas; cultural exchanges, Policy co-ordination, facilitate connectivity, financial integration, trade, Investment and infrastructure development. The motive of the bankers’ forum was to discuss on boosting their presence under the Belt and Road initiatives and to seek closer partnerships for project financing. Other opportunities highlighted during the forum were; increasing the level of global trade, developing local capital markets for participating countries, forming a long term interbank co-operation mechanism to ensure sustainable financing and proper risk management for projects under the initative. With the government view on restructuring the country’s economy including financial stabilization and integrating Sri Lanka with the global value chain ‘Belt and Road Initiatives’ is expected to be a good opportunity to reap more benefits for the country.