IORA Business Conclave 2024 Spurs Trade and Strategic MOUs


The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Business Conclave 2024, held from May 28th to 29th facilitated trade and investment across the Indian Ocean Rim region by yielding strategic MOUs and promoting international industry engagement. Organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sri Lanka, the Conclave brought together key stakeholders to foster economic collaboration under the theme “Sustaining Growth – Bridging Horizons.”

Attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Ali Sabry as the Chief Guest, and Secretary General of the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet Mr. Satya Tripathi as the Keynote Speaker, the Conclave resulted in several significant outcomes, including the signing of multiple Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) aimed at enhancing bilateral trade and business. These MOUs focus on disseminating relevant information, promoting joint ventures, partnerships, and business linkages, providing technical expertise, organizing business delegations and knowledge transfer events.

The Ceylon Chamber signed MoUs with the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Sri Lanka – Australia Chamber of Commerce Sydney, and the Indo – Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India. Facilitated by the Conclave, the Chamber of Marine Industry Sri Lanka signed an MOU with the Indo – Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, focusing on joint efforts to establish marinas, promote yacht ownership, support the local boat industry, and promote yacht visits and orders, and investments.

Featuring three plenary sessions and four panel discussions with 16 panelists across 12 countries, the Conclave hosted the highest-ever representation from IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners. Attracting over 70 foreign delegates from 18 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Singapore, Tanzania, Turkey, the United States, participants were able to engage in over 245 B2B meetings with foreign representatives of industry, with the most significant amount of interest demonstrated in sectors including agriculture, logistics, renewable energy, and tourism. The high level of engagement was facilitated with the support of Sri Lankan Missions overseas and the Chamber’s MOU partners.

The Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Mr. Duminda Hulangamuwa emphasised Sri Lanka’s progress from the financial crisis faced two and a half years ago, adding that Sri Lanka aims to enter into more Free Trade Agreements and eventually join the RCEP and ASEAN bloc. ‘These agreements are expected to pave the way for increased investment and trade, contributing to the country’s development’. He expressed hope that the participation in the Conclave would benefit all involved, enhancing trade, investment, the movement of people, and tourism in the region.

The Secretary-General and CEO of the Ceylon Chamber Mr. Buwanekabahu Perera was appointed as the Chair of the IORA Business Forum for a period of 2 years. Mr. Perera encouraged all participants and IORA countries to continue to leverage the momentum created by the Conclave, by maintaining connections and continuing to explore opportunities in trade and investment following the Conclave’s conclusion.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an inter-governmental organization aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region. IORA comprises 23 Member States and 12 Dialogue Partners, offering a platform for promoting trade, investment, and economic collaboration.