The 3rd SAARC Business Leaders Conclave (SBLC) was organized on 22-23 November 2009 at Colombo, Sri Lanka, by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI), the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka (FCCISL), and the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF).
The aim of the conclave was to create synergies for regional integration and cooperation through effective networking for the business community within South Asia. The SBLC provides a unique platform to discuss the benefits of regional cooperation. Moreover, it is a forum to develop.
The Conclave was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon’ble Ratanasiri Wickremanayake. He invited the business community of the region to invest and increase trade with Sri Lanka. With the threat of terror removed, Sri Lanka is committed to improve its economic growth by increasing trade with other SAARC countries. The country has already concluded FTA’s with India and Pakistan. At the same time, Sri Lanka is a beautiful island and a perfect tourist destination in South Asia, he added.
Mr. Tariq Sayeed, President SAARC CCI, spoke of the potential of South Asia and a bright future for the region provided South Asia can get its act together and overcome the problem of terrorism. He also pointed out that India and Pakistan need to sort out their differences for a stronger cooperation.
Dr. René Klaff, Regional Director South Asia, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, emphasized the political freedom enjoyed by the people of South Asia as all member countries are democracies. Complimenting the political freedom with economic freedom would achieve higher levels of economic growth and prosperity for all the people of South Asia.
Interaction at one of the technical sessions The technical sessions had distinguished speakers from all the South Asian countries and discussed among others the impact of global financial crisis, the socio-economic challenges, issues of food security and trade facilitation among others.
Over 250 delegates from all South Asian countries participated in the two-day Conclave. The informative presentations and rich discussions of each session were well appreciated by all the participants.The programme was well-covered by both the print and the electronic media.