Cover Story

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents -

Nor­we­gian Am­bas­sador to Sri Lanka, Thor­b­jørn Gaus­tad­sæther and newly elected Pres­i­dent of Nor­we­gian Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion Sri Lanka wel­com­ing Nor­we­gian in­vestors to the coun­try. There is a small but thriv­ing Nor­we­gian busi­ness com­mu­nity in Sri Lanka, where play­ers across many in­dus­tries are making pos­i­tive im­pacts to their lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties. Pages

Dear read­ers, It’s with great plea­sure and pride we xwrite this fore­word from Colombo, Sri Lanka to mark the es­tab­lish­ment of the Nor­we­gian Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion Sri Lanka on 1 June 2016, the lat­est Nor­we­gian cham­ber of com­merce in Asia.

Many of us here in Sri Lanka have a long his­tory and have seen ups and downs in the Nor­we­gian-Sri Lankan re­la­tion­ship over the years, but mat­ters have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly since the war ended six-and-a-half years ago.

To­day we see a small but thriv­ing Nor­we­gian busi­ness com­mu­nity in Sri Lanka, where play­ers across many in­dus­tries are making pos­i­tive im­pacts to their lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties.

Come and visit us and ex­pe­ri­ence the am­biance, our lovely seafood and the gen­uine Sri Lankan hospi­tal­ity while meet­ing ex­cit­ing Nor­we­gian busi­ness ven­tures and fully-owned com­pa­nies in sec­tors like mar­itime and fish­ing, in­no­va­tive agri­cul­ture, and beau­ti­ful ho­tels and cre­ative hospi­tal­ity ven­tures. There are of course a num­ber of great com­pa­nies in the IT sec­tor, and I have es­tab­lished two com­pa­nies in that in­dus­try over the years.

This year we es­tab­lished a firm co­op­er­a­tion be­tween IKT Norge and SLASSCOM. As a re­sult NMFA has de­cided to sup­port an ini­tia­tive from IKT Norge to bring the “Lær Kidsa Kod­ing” pro­gramme (Teach the Kids to Code) to Sri Lanka. This is an in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing project that links di­rectly with Sri Lankan author­i­ties’ (ICTA) am­bi­tion to bring cod­ing into the cur­ricu­lum and IT lit­er­acy to the young masses.

When I came to Sri Lanka in 1999 I did so to find cost­ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions for our soft­ware de­vel­op­ment needs in Oslo. We had some sec­ond thoughts about the ethics of “buy­ing the best brains” and ex­port­ing the re­sults to the ben­e­fit of our home econ­omy, but 17 years later that pic­ture has changed a lot!

To­day, we see for­mer em­ploy­ees and young tal­ent right out of the uni­ver­si­ties start­ing their own com­pa­nies and tak­ing the knowl­edge in­dus­try fur­ther, with great po­ten­tial to help solve many lo­cal chal­lenges in trans­port, clean en­ergy, waste man­age­ment and other ar­eas.

We also see our ap­pli­ca­tions and ser­vices com­pet­ing well in emerg­ing mar­kets as Asia economies be­gin to digi­tise and coun­tries pro­vide bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion, health care and public ser­vices to their growing pop­u­la­tions.

Sri Lanka is a great step­ping stone to Asia for Nor­we­gian com­pa­nies and we look for­ward to wel­com­ing you here!

Sin­cerely,

Finn Worm-Petersen

Pres­i­dent Nor­we­gian Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion Sri Lanka

PHOTO: KIM WORM-PETERSEN

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