I consider it a great honour and privilege to be representing Bank of Ceylon(BOC), Sri Lanka’s premier bank, as the Chairman of APRACA for the biennium 2019-2020. As a first gesture, I would like to place on record my thanks and gratitude to all member institutions and partners of APRACA.

BOC, though commercial bank, plays a wider role in acting as a catalyst for economic development. In this role it is engaged in poverty alleviation measures, development banking, financial inclusion and contributing to sustainability in both economic and social aspects. Serving all segments of Sri Lanka society and covering all geographical areas of Sri Lanka in the provision of modern financial services (including service modalities employing an increased quantum of technology) is an integral part of the overall task that Bank of Ceylon has undertaken in the role that it plays. Such service and coverage are in other words an integral part of its vision and mission. As such, Bank of Ceylon has taken active participation in the activities of APRACA since joining.

In a region that has grappled with elimination of poverty, financial inclusion and engaging rural and agricultural communities (which form a significant part of the region’s population) in meaningful economic activity the role played by APRACA has been significant. The platform it has provided since its formation in 1977 has been instrumental in sharing knowledge and learning, capacity-building, engaging in research, and exchanging expertise among member institutions. Apart from the support from member institutions and their enthusiasm, a key factor in APRACA’s rise to its present level has been the support it has received from the International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD). On behalf of all members of APRACA I acknowledge IFAD’s support with deep gratitude and the significant role IFAD’s support will continue to play as APRACA continues its journey.

In my current role as the Chair of our Association I see myself continuing the work of my predecessors in the Chair which is the continuation of the implementation of the Strategic Plan of APRACA for the years 2019-2024. While we can be happy about the progress made with regard to implementation up to now, further continuation is required for full achievement the Association’s overall objectives.

I believe we are at an important point in our development. The knowledge and insights that APRACA members and partners have shared over the years have resulted in the development of expertise that will in turn out more and better insights and knowledge to make member institutions more effective and efficient.

In closing my message, I would like to place on record my sincere appreciation of all APRACA members and partners for the support they have provided. Their efforts and continued support have brought APRACA from modest beginnings to the stature it presently projects and the recognition it has garnered. I expect to work closely with APRACA members and partners and look forward to their continued support and active contribution as we strive for implementation of APRACA Strategic Plan for 2013-2018.