Celebrating 183 years as the leading business Chamber of the country, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce continues its uninterrupted record of yeoman service to Sri Lanka’s private sector.
Established in 1839, the Ceylon Chamber is among the most iconic Chambers of Commerce in South East Asia, working tirelessly to perpetuate its proud tradition as the premier representative of Sri Lanka’s private sector. The Chamber acts as a unifying voice for the country’s business sector, facilitated by a formidable membership comprising the private sector, regional and sectoral Chambers of commerce and industry, trade and service associations, employer associations and bilateral business councils, while strategic alliances with public sector institutions add further impetus to the mandate.
While the challenges caused by the pandemic continued into the second year, the Chamber continued to demonstrate characteristic vision and resilience, choosing to look ahead and prepare the ground for the economic resurgence that would inevitably follow. The Ceylon Chamber came to the forefront recently in raising the voice of the private sector on its own and together with other chambers, on how the nation could tackle the foreign exchange crisis it is currently grappling with. The Chamber is pleased to note that many of its recommendations have now been accepted while its leadership has been accorded a place at the table by inviting them to the recently established Advisory Committee to the Economic Council.
As a series of lockdowns and border closures continued to restrict both national and international movement, the Chamber seamlessly moved its medley of services to virtual platforms. Numerous trade promotion webinars and B2B meetings, networking sessions with overseas missions, and several Memoranda of Understanding signed with international Chambers of Commerce, were successfully conducted virtually, facilitating the exploration of opportunities for bilateral investment and trade across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
The Chamber’s Economic Intelligence Unit played a particularly important role in the face of mounting economic exigencies, disseminating critical macro-economic and sector-based market intelligence, thereby providing a roadmap for the private sector to develop sustainable business strategies. Recommendations on national policy formulation as well as engagements with the Government on behalf of the private sector were received positively, with some recommendations being incorporated in the National Budget 2022 as well as contributing towards the resolution of certain sector specific industry concerns.
Committed to identifying and leveraging emerging and future trends to facilitate a thriving business environment, the past year has also seen continued focus on the country’s SME and startup sectors. The Council for Startups and the Centre for SMEs are Ceylon Chamber initiatives actively involved in fostering startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems, which have been identified as key drivers of economic growth. Partnerships with international aid agencies on socio-economic development and capacity building projects, and the Chamber Academy which facilitates knowledge-transfer workshops and seminars are among other initiatives through which the Ceylon Chamber contributes to holistic development of the private sector.