I had some fun today. The Chamber of Commerce organizes a Sri Lanka Economic Summit every year. I was invited to moderate the closing session that included the Chairs/CEOs of some of Sri Lanka’s highest profile companies: Brandix, Softlogic, Keells, Hemas and Dialog Axiata. The topic was innovation and growth.
There was a lot of talk about infrastructure and education, with the latter winning by a length.
We got over the hump of demanding that x or y should be done by government. Ashroff Omar, the Brandix CEO was particularly emphatic about the need to stop whining and take the initiative. We had lots of questions from the floor. One that I liked the most asked each member was whether they were optimistic or pessimistic and why. The best answer came from Dialog Axiata Group CEO Hans Wijayasuriya. He said his optimism was conditioned by one thing: Sri Lanka could not afford any civil unrest for the next ten years. I agreed. And stopped the panel.