By The Coca-Cola Company, Managing Director – Sri Lanka & the Maldives, Pankaj Sinha
Coca-Cola, with its 62-year presence in Sri Lanka, has remained committed to supporting this beautiful country through its challenges. As someone who has made Sri Lanka his home since 2019, and seen the country grapple with natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and now an economic crisis, I am humbled and honored to witness Coca-Cola’s unwavering commitment to investing in Sri Lanka and giving back to the communities we operate in. This commitment is driven by the belief in Sri Lanka’s vast potential, which is evident through its abundant natural resources, skilled workforce, thriving tourism industry, and developing infrastructure. Coca-Cola’s investments in the country have already started making a positive impact, and here’s why the company remains optimistic about Sri Lanka’s future.
Natural resources – a boon to tourism and operational excellence in businesses
Sri Lanka’s rich natural resources serve as a catalyst for both tourism and operational excellence in businesses. With diverse wildlife reserves, stunning coastlines, and picturesque landscapes, the country attracts tourists from the UK, India, and Europe, creating opportunities for eco-tourism services and demand for accommodation, food, beverages, and unique offerings. As a global beverage brand, Coca-Cola is well-positioned to serve and refresh these tourists, but its role goes beyond that. The company actively collaborates with partners and volunteer networks to preserve ecologically rich sites, combat pollution, and minimize waste, enhancing the experience for both tourists and locals.
Additionally, Sri Lanka’s natural resources offer opportunities for investing in clean and cost-efficient renewable energy, such as solar power. Embracing renewable energy sources has already improved Coca-Cola’s operations, contributing to the local economy and global environmental preservation efforts.
Fast Developing Infrastructure
Following the end of the ethnic conflict, Sri Lanka has experienced a significant infrastructure boom that has attracted investors worldwide. Upgraded seaports, international airports, and better roads and highways have facilitated economic growth and made it more convenient for tourists and businesses to travel within the island. This improved infrastructure has made Sri Lanka an appealing destination for global brands looking to expand their operations in South Asia, with enhanced transportation networks making it easier to import and export goods.
Skilled Workforce – the driving force behind Sri Lanka’s progress
Sri Lanka’s highly skilled and adaptable workforce, proficient in English, makes it an attractive destination for global businesses. Colombo, in particular, employs over 80,000 people in the IT and BPM industry, with a low attrition rate and a rapidly growing labor force. The city’s cost competitiveness and lower wage pressures compared to other sourcing destinations make it an ideal location for businesses aiming to optimize their operations. Coca-Cola recognizes the potential of Sri Lanka’s workforce and seeks to empower it through direct and indirect employment opportunities, including related industries such as plastic recyclers and waste collectors.
Sri Lanka’s location has long been recognized as a key advantage for businesses expanding their regional reach. Its position at the crossroads of major shipping routes connecting the East and West provides easy access to regional markets. This makes it a highly attractive destination for trade and investment. With its proximity to major ports, Sri Lanka has become a hub for shipping and airfreight services, enabling companies to transport goods quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, Sri Lanka’s strategic location has become a gateway for investors seeking to enter the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asian markets. The proposed liberalization of the shipping industry is expected further to boost Sri Lanka’s position as a logistics hub and attract more businesses to the country, especially SMEs looking to expand their export capabilities. In short, Sri Lanka’s strategic location has proven to be a significant factor in its economic development, and its potential for further growth is yet to be fully realized.
Passion for Food, Music and Cricket
Sri Lanka’s rich history and multicultural society offer a wide variety of food and music experiences. Iconic Sri Lankan dishes like Kottu and Hoppers, along with unique Baila music, showcase the country’s distinct cultural heritage. Moreover, Sri Lanka’s passion for cricket has been supported by Coca-Cola through various initiatives, from Kottu Beat Parties celebrating food and music to grassroots cricket programs
Opportunities for Coca-Cola in Sri Lanka
Coca-Cola has invested over USD 99 million in Sri Lanka in the last two decades, creating thousands of jobs. Sri Lanka’s strategic location, skilled workforce, developing infrastructure, natural resources, and growing tourism industry have been key reasons why Coca-Cola decided to invest in the country. The brand’s strong presence in Sri Lanka shows its belief in the market’s potential and commitment to its people. Our products are available through a vast network of over 100,000 traditional trade outlets, supporting small businesses. We invest in our retail partners and leverage our multinational experience to bring best practices. We also collaborate with Modern Trade Chains and HORECA channels, focusing on Category Management Initiatives while understanding consumers and their needs, which drive our innovations across Categories and Pack choices.
As we progress together, Coca-Cola is dedicated to contributing to Sri Lanka’s growth, uplifting communities, empowering individuals, and embracing the country’s unique spirit for a brighter future.