Meeting with International Delegations on Water
On Monday, we were pleased to host an event for our members with a range of international delegates representing Housing ministries and Utilities from a range of overseas markets. BEI members HR Wallingford and WRc provided a fantastic overview of some of the cutting edge innovations in the UK’s water sector, and we were treated to a panel discussion with senior ministerial delegates from Egypt and Kenya. There is a growing need globally to use innovation and technology to achieve decarbonisation and energy efficiency in the water sector, as climate change as well as growing urbanisation and industrialisation are making ever bigger demands on the sector’s resilience.
Doing business in Saudi Arabia
We had the pleasure of hosting Arabian Enterprise Incubators, a consultancy and support services provider, who provided an overview of the foreign investment environment in Saudi Arabia aligned with the country's Vision 2030. In addition, they offered practical tips for UK businesses to thrive while operating in Saudi Arabia, including common pitfalls to avoid. We were also joined by Clyde & Co, a global law firm, who emphasised Saudi Arabia's interest in attracting serious investments that positively contribute to the sustainable development of the economy. They also outlined the laws and regulations governing Foreign Direct Investment that UK businesses should be aware of. Lastly, Aurifer Tax concluded the presentation by offering an in-depth overview of the tax regulatory landscape in Saudi Arabia and highlighting the associated challenges. Overall, our speakers provided us with a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and challenges that UK businesses might face while operating in Saudi Arabia, making it easier to navigate the complex landscape of foreign investment.
Infrastructure opportunities in Hong Kong
We were delighted to host a senior delegation from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Development Bureau, headed by Mr Ricky Lau, Permanent Secretary for Development (Works). In particular, the Northern Metropolis and the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands were highlighted as the two new engines for Hong Kong to scale new heights. The Northern Metropolis, covering an area of some 300 km2, will emerge as a “new international innovation and technology city”, integrating quality life, new economies, as well as culture and leisure, providing homes for some 2.5 million people. It will also create space to enhance capacity for Hong Kong and exploit synergy with the whole Greater Bay Area - which spans about 56 000 km2 and has a combined population of over 86 million people with GDP of about 1.96 trillion US dollars (~£1.6 trillion) in 2021, roughly equivalent to that of Canada. Meanwhile, the development of the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands is in a strategic position within the expanded Harbour Metropolis, providing about 1,000 hectares of land for meeting part of the medium to long-term land requirement of Hong Kong, enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a financial, commercial and trade centre.
Working with USAID
We heard from the British Embassy in Washington and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on how they support British companies in securing business opportunities. The embassy highlighted their pivotal role in helping businesses tap into the US market, while the USAID team shared valuable insights on their operating framework and how they fund their work. During the session, the USAID team highlighted some of their key partners, including NGOs, charitable organizations, colleges and universities, diaspora groups, and more. The team also provided an overview of their competitive funding process and shared tips on identifying USAID funding opportunities. Attendees were even given insight into the USAID business forecast, along with practical advice on submitting an application or proposal. We were also taken through the workwithUSAID.org website, which offers a wealth of resources to help businesses navigate the funding opportunities through USAID, The website features a partner directory which can be filtered by organisation, partnership, and socio-economic factors. We also learnt how to create a profile on the website and take a pre-engagement assessment to gauge their readiness to work with USAID.
New Member Profile
This week we are delighted to welcome our new member M&C Saatchi World Services, a specialist division established in 2011 to harness the talent and expertise of the M&C Saatchi Group network (www.mcsaatchi.com) to help make the world a healthier, safer and more equitable place. They leverage the power of best-in-class communications to increase awareness, affinity and action across key development issues, as well as drive social and behaviour change across the world’s most pressing problems. Headquartered in London, they develop end-to-end creative campaigns to support the objectives of international donors, UN agencies, multilateral funds, development banks, foundations, and NGOs.