Oct 08, 2015 (LBO) – There is an urgent need to move forward with intelligent urban design and development if Sri Lanka aspires to make Colombo a regional hub.
This was the call of the organizers of LBR LBO’s infrastructure summit “Making Colombo a Globally Competitive City,” which will be held on November 3rd and 4th at the Cinnamon Grand.
“It’s not only the ‘Silk Road’ that global cities compete with each other for, but for capital, talent and ideas,” Lakshaman Bandaranayake, the publisher of Lanka Business Online, said.
Ranked 102 out of 120 cities in a Global Competitive Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Colombo is projected to slip to 108th place by 2025.
This means Colombo will be placed behind Indian cities such as Ahmedabad, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai, if current infrastructure designs are not implemented, Bandaranayake said.
The Summit will bring together over twenty-five local and international thought leaders, industry representatives, technologists, investors, financial intermediaries, development experts and policy makers.
Poojitha Rajapakse of Microsoft Sri Lanka, a sponsor of the summit, said 70 percent of populations will live in cities by 2020 amid rapid urbanization. This will require a deployment of cloud technology.
“Companies such as Microsoft invest heavily in the cloud. But this is not an easy option for government,” he added during the media event.
Millennium Information Technologies, another sponsor of the summit, said it is well positioned to play an active role in infrastructure development.
“We have been involved in big infrastructure projects for banks, telecoms, airlines and manufacturing sector companies,” Roshan de Silva, the head of strategic accounts of MIT, said.
“Some of our partners have been involved in the Songdo international business district, the smart city in South Korea,” he said.
Among thought leaders billed to speak are Sumila Gulyani, World Bank’s global lead for Urban Development Strategy and Analytics, Professors Willie Mendis, Amal Kumarage, P K S Mahanama and Dr Lalithsiri Gunaruwan, Nayana Mawilmada Director General, Urban Development Authority, and Yasushi Taira of JICA.
Speakers from the private sector are Jaijit Bhattacharya from KPMG, Vivek Puthucode of Microsoft, Ravinder Pal Singh from CISCO, Mangal Dev of Hitachi and a senior regional resource from a leading MNC bank.
The individual sessions will be chaired by Professor Rohan Samarajiva, Founder Chair/LIRNEasia, Thilan Wijesinghe Chairman/TWCorp and former Director General of BOI, Gayani de Alwis Supply Chain and Logistics Specialist, Maninda Wickramasinghe Managing Director/Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka and Peter D’ Almeida CEO/N*Able.
Topics on the table include cities of the future, making Colombo a global city and it’s opportunities and challenges, investment strategies and business models for building a global city, creating a world class transportation system in Colombo and re-imagining cities through technology.
Attendees will include officials of government agencies and departments and the private sector involved in infrastructure design and development, infrastructure development services, as well as multilateral and bilateral lending agencies.
The main sponsors of the event are Hitachi, Microsoft, Millennium Information Technologies, Cinnamon Life and HSBC.