Sri Lanka is currently facing several economic challenges and in order to steer the country out of this difficult situation, it is imperative that Sri Lanka takes bold steps that will make the country ‘future ready’. Among them, Nation Branding is an approach that can pay rich dividends if carried out properly.
Nation Branding is an exercise where a country aims to build, enhance and manage its reputation on the global stage. It presents the country with the opportunity to be better positioned to deal with foreign nations and build stronger relationships which in turn would benefit the nation economically by means of greater investments, more tourism, higher value and demand for its products and services, attract talented, creative workforce and enhance its influence on the world stage.
As a nation, Sri Lanka requires a greater focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and startups where a culture that can support such initiatives is nurtured. Although these areas are widely spoken of and several initiatives have already been implemented, there is still room for improvement in terms of consistent national policies or platforms that can take them to the next level. The creation of a common platform should also include fostering closer partnerships between Sri Lankan universities, organizations operating across various industries, and research agencies. The ongoing ‘Future Ready Sri Lanka’ which focuses on encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation, skills, and knowledge-based industries and society – all of which are vital components as we embrace this new normal and prepare for economic recovery – is an encouraging sign in terms of a common platform for the betterment of the nation.
Over the years, some developed and developing nations have adopted a collaborative approach to successfully market their countries and increase revenue through multiple streams whether it’s via foreign direct investment, tourism, logistics, manufacturing, or any other industry. Sri Lanka has not been able to follow in their footsteps which has resulted in limited success on this front as a nation. There is no doubt that Sri Lanka is blessed to be centrally located on the world map as a maritime hub with our ports such as Colombo, Hambanthota, and Trincomalee all strategically positioned. Given our strategic maritime location, we are ideally positioned to take advantage of a semi-lockdown assembly operation to transform Sri Lanka into a hub for assembling and re-export. We must encourage global giants to invest in large-scale assembling plants in Sri Lanka where they can utilize our skilled yet cost-effective labour force thereby making the country a hub that can challenge regional players in this space.
Education has always been one of the strong points of Sri Lanka where our literacy rate has been one of the highest in the continent. However, today’s technology-driven world requires more than mere literacy as what is more important these days is digital literacy. Today we learn, live, and work in a world where accessing information and communicating with others is increasingly through digital devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones that have access to the Internet, social media platforms, and different types of software. Therefore, increasing digital literacy is of paramount importance to help the country compete against regional rivals. Fortunately, Sri Lanka is witnessing an increase in computer literacy, digital literacy, and Internet penetration with technologies such as 5G also available in the island. Along with this, we also see the mega-development projects such as Port City which will undoubtedly elevate Sri Lanka’s infrastructure and bring the country on par with regional cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Together, these attributes will provide the country with the perfect foundation to become a service hotspot and attract global giants to setup operations in the country.
However, to maximise the utilization of our limited funds and resources across all these key areas it is imperative that the relevant organisations in charge of each area collaborate and adopt a Nation Branding approach. This will ensure that as a brand Sri Lanka will have a far greater impact on the global stage which in turn will certainly translate into greater, long-term revenues and a much-needed boost to the country’s struggling economy.
This Nation Branding should take a three-pronged approach – Export Branding, Generic Nation Branding, and Internal Nation Branding. Export Branding will help to create a positive halo effect on products manufactured in Sri Lanka driven by a “Country-of-Origin” effect and resulting in an increased ability to export and greater acknowledgment and acceptance of Sri Lankan products in the global market. Generic Nation Branding will enhance the country’s ability to attract tourists and skilled workers and foreign direct investments. It will provide us the opportunity to reduce incentives for investors, sustain higher prices and also increase cost pressure on competing nations. As a nation, we will be more resilient to current or future global or regional financial meltdowns. Internal Nation Branding is also an important component as it will help us to curb the “brain drain” of losing skilled workers to developed nations while also increasing overall productivity driven by better morale among the workforce of the country.
Mahindra Ideal Finance One of Sri Lanka’s Great Places to Work
Mahindra Ideal Finance is not only one of Sri Lanka’s leading finance companies, but also one of Sri Lanka’s top employers of choice, attested to by the Company being certified as a Great Place to Work for 3 consecutive years, most recently in 2021.The Company has also been recognized amongst the Best 10 companies in the banking, financial services and insurance sector in 2021 by the Great Place to Work® Sri Lanka. As a result, Mahindra Ideal Finance has attracted a diverse group of individuals at the top of their game to be a part of the Company’s various teams. Having embarked on a landmark islandwide network expansion strategy, Mahindra Ideal Finance is also creating new opportunities for aspiring Sri Lankan professionals looking to build solid careers in financial services.
Duminda Weerasekara – Chief Executive Officer said, “As we are growing our presence around the country through the expansion of our branch network, we are looking for driven and passionate people to reinforce our teams. As we have been a dedicated, caring and trustworthy employer since our inception, Mahindra Ideal Finance is the ideal platform for dynamic young professionals looking to launch or grow their careers.”Great Place to Work®, headquartered in the USA, is the global authority on high-trust, high performance workplace cultures. Great Place to Work provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.
Daraz Cares introduces ‘Buy one Give One’ initiative – To support families in vulnerable communities
The unfolding economic crisis in the country has presented Sri Lankans with unprecedented challenges, including scarcity of essentials, escalating living expenses and deteriorating living standards. The impacts of the crisis are graver and more ominous for those in vulnerable communities, where families struggle to make ends meet amidst mounting financial difficulties.As part of its commitment to give back to the community, Daraz Cares has come forward with a social initiative that pledges support for families in vulnerable communities. The initiative themed ‘Buy One, Give One’ will support Sri Lankan families faced with financial challenges with a pack of selected daily essentials. The selected items for the ‘Buy One, Give One’ initiative are, a 1kg pack of CIC Sudu Suduru Rice,a 500g of Orient Mysoore Dhal, a 300g pack of Maggi Coconut Milk Powder, 500g of Orient White Sugar, and 500 g packs of Sunlight Lemon and Rose Detergent Powder, which are all available for purchase via Daraz Mart.
The initiative will be implemented in a manner that, each time an individual purchase any desired quantity of one of the nominated items on the Daraz app, Daraz will donate an equal quantity of the same product to a family in vulnerable communities.Daraz invites everyone to purchase a preferred quantity of the selected items via www.daraz.lk/dmart/ and become a part of the ‘Buy One, Give One’ social initiative.
DIMO partners with Allianz to provide innovative insurance scheme to its TATA customers
DIMO together with Allianz recently introduced a state-of-the-art motor insurance & claim settlement scheme designed exclusively for DIMO’s TATA customers.The partnership is focused on assisting the customers to reduce costs incurred during conducting accident repairs through exemption of the owner’s payable portion for TATA vehicles within 5 years of date of manufacture. This innovative facility also offers all TATA customers of DIMO special insurance premium rates at the time of renewal of insurance. DIMO’s TATA customers will enjoy the utmost convenience and zero hassle as both DIMO and Allianz will coordinate all tasks from towing the vehicle to the nearest DIMO-TATA workshop, quick and efficient estimation & approval process, repairing of the vehicle according to exact manufacturer’s specifications, settlement of repair bills to handing over of the vehicle to the customer in original condition.
Ranjith Pandithage, Chairman & Managing Director of DIMO, said, “This partnership will further assist us in offering an enhanced service for our valued customers. As a company, DIMO has always stood for fuelling the dreams and aspirations of the communities we serve in, and it is a pleasure to be able to offer an innovative insurance scheme at a time like this, in collaboration with Allianz.
Gany Subramaniam, CEO of Allianz Insurance Lanka Ltd, said “We are extremely pleased to be partnering with DIMO to offer a customer-centric product, ensuring a vehicle is repaired and restored with minimum hassle.”
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