Business Times

Matchmaking programme completes 15 years

By Jeevan Kaviratne

The current economic climate in the country, against its recent peaceful backdrop has led to an influx of foreign investors, which in turn has led to increased capital inflow. These comments were made by the Norwegian Ambassador recently at an event to launch a publication which highlighted the progress made by the Sri Lanka –Norway Industrial Co-operation, also known as the ‘Matchmaking Programme.’

Ambassador Tore Hattrem pointed out that, the programme which has been in operation for the past 15 years, was supported through the efforts of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), especially its comprehensive review which traced the progress of the project.

Calling the Matchmaking programme a ‘creative and non-conventional project’, the Ambassador remarked that the present phase of the programme which commenced in December 2000 would be successfully completed by the end of this year. The Government of Norway has fully financed the Matchmaking programme through a substantial grant , he said.

Malcolm Atton, Co-ordinator, SLNICAMP and the Deputy Secretary General, CCC, speaking at the event remembered the late Gilbert Jayasouriya in his capacity as the then President of the Sri Lanka – Nordic Business Council and his initiative to promote investment from Norway into the country.

It was in response to this request that NORAD agreed to fund the Matchmaking facility in 1993.
The programme commenced operations in 1994 and the CCC was appointed as the National contact point, he said.

He added that the CCC considered the programme as a model for the promotion of trade with the developed world and took the initiative to publish the Review of Operations. There are 33 trading collaborations and 60 joint ventures covering the following fields - Fishing, Bio-energy, Furniture, Fibre, Glass Manufacture and Engineering.

The initial objectives of the Matchmaking programme were to establish a sustainable and profitable joint venture between Norwegian and Sri Lankan counterparts. The programme aims to achieves its goals through the enhancement of business partnerships which foster a transfer of technology, the exchange of management and business skills between Sri Lankan and Norwegian companies, the Ambassador said.

At the end of last year more than 60 companies were operational under various sectors through the support of the programme. Those sectors included toys, garments, tea, tourism, boat trailers, leather, furniture, etc.

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