By: Staff writer
Colombo (LNW): Taking a cue from President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s presidential announcement of according Great importance to the African continent in doing business, International Consultants UK has stepped into promote trade and investment ties between Sri Lanka and South Africa.
This initiative was taken in collaboration with the EDB, Sri Lanka High Commission in South Africa, and the Investment and Export Promotion Agency (APIEX) of Mozambique.
At a meeting organised by the Foreign Affairs Ministry on 3rd February 2023 at the Presidential Secretariat to coincide with the momentous occasion of Sri Lanka’s 75 independence ceremony International Consultants Chairman Ranjiv Goonawardena has taken up the task of sponsoring a major export-orientated webinar conference.
The webinar conference titled “Gateway to Africa” organized in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) and the Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria will be a series of events and the inaugural session will be deliberating on “Doing Business in Mozambique” starting on the 28th March 2023 at 1.30 p.m. Colombo time.
The inaugural webinar conference to focus on the key sectors from Sri Lanka comprising the Power and Energy, Civil Construction, Engineering services and Telecommunication sectors.
At the pre-launch event on the 10th March Goonawardena stated Sri Lanka has a competitive edge compared to its rivals from the Western Hemisphere. Due to the cost of labour being far less in comparison to its counterparties. The quality of work is of international standing or even better than their competitors.
African countries have signed the African Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA). African free trade agreement comprising three protocols which pertain to Trade in Goods, Trade in Services; Rules, and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes.
The deal creates a continent-wide market embracing 54 countries with 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of $ 3.4 trillion. In time to come, which will create a single market similar to the internal market of the European Union where goods and services can be imported and exported without any tariffs plus duty-free.
Under the African Union Free Trade Agreement manufactured goods and services will not incur duties and tariffs. When goods are transported from one African country to another for instance, if goods are transported from Cairo, Egypt to Johannesburg, South Africa may that be by air, sea or overland there are no customs duties to be paid.
This is a great opportunity for some of the companies in Sri Lanka to take full advantage of exporting the goods and services.
Another crucial component is that the majority of the African countries are deemed as least developed economies under the UN description; thereby being eligible for trade preferences, development financing, including official development assistance, debt relief, technical assistance and other forms of support.
Which means that they have free access to the European and the American market duty free indicating Sri Lankan companies could even manufacture goods in the African continent creating three accessible markets. The African free trade agreement areas can be a tremendous opportunity.