‘Lack of awareness of peace in Sri Lanka, getting in the way of Norwegian investments’

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Norway’s ambassador to Sri Lanka Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether said that the awareness level of Sri Lanka’s current domestic peace is very minimal among Norwegian and other Scandinavian peoples. This is getting in the way of promoting Sri Lanka as an investment destination in the Nordic region.

‘After three decades of war, Norway and other Scandinavian investors still believe that Sri Lanka has not got out of the war situation, and given the current situation, a lot of image building and publicity are needed to promote the country as a peaceful country,, Gaustadsaether said at the Sri Lanka- Nordic Business Council Annual General Meeting organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The event was held at the Ramada, Colombo last Thursday.

The ambassador said although the trade and investment between the two countries are static, there are remarkable improvements in the service, tourism and IT sectors. The reason being that many top companies are operating in Sri Lanka successfully and the tourism sector has also increased at a rapid pace, he said.

He said that Sri Lanka could obtain Norway’s assistance for the development of many sectors, including IT, ports, fisheries and renewable energy, for which Norway has global competency.

“Since there is less awareness of Sri Lanka to attract Norwegian investors, it is the need of the hour to have a lot of PR activities through the media and other publicity methods. Apart from that, business match making could be done, based on areas of common interest, with the participation of the Council and the involvement of the Foreign Ministry, the ambassador added.

He said that the Royal Norwegian embassy, embassy of Sweden and the consulates of Denmark and Finland in Sri Lanka have extended their fullest co-operation to all the activities of the Council from its inception.

“We are happy to increase trade and investments in both countries, which have not been properly harnessed to the fullest, when there is so much of trade and investment potential, Gaustadsaether said.

President, Sri Lanka-Norway Business Council Bobby Hansen said at the AGM that they will do the maximum to develop tourism, IT and other potential sectors through the Council.

She also said that business and tourism promotion activities will be launched next year in order to increase trade and investment in both countries.