BEI Weekly Update
Jan 26, 2024

BEI Weekly Update - 26th January 2024

Dear Members and Friends,

A warm welcome to this week’s newsletter and also a warm “welcome back” to Luisa, who has returned from an action-packed DBT education trade mission to South-East Asia. She will be writing up her takeaways and thoughts about follow up for BEI and our members. 

I’ve been thinking about what our hugely diverse range of activities – events, working groups and reports – have in common. I’ve decided to call it the “5 per cent dimension”. All our members know their business and their sectors better than we do (though we do try…). What we add is that last 5 per cent: fresh insights, new people to meet and the “lightbulb moments” that come from making connections where you least expect them. And my hope, is of course that the 5 per cent translates into tangible ROI for you. If you have any good examples of the 5 per cent you’d like to share, we’d be delighted to hear them!

So to this week’s events. On Tuesday morning, we hosted a workshop for the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) as part of their current review of UK aid for Sustainable Cities. Several of our members had the opportunity to engage direct with ICAI, discussing some of the financial innovations that are needed in this space and providing some excellent examples of projects from across the global south. We look forward to the review, which is due to be published in the summer. 

On Wednesday, we were delighted to host the first of our two sessions with the Caribbean Development Bank, with colleagues from the Strategy and Accountability Office and the Procurement Policy Unit who were joined by sector specialists from the Economic Infrastructure Division and the Environmental Sustainability Unit. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is an important multilateral partner for the UK, delivering a range of the British development objectives across the Caribbean. It is committed to supporting borrowing member countries with a view to reducing inequality, improving social and economic conditions and safeguarding against the climate crisis, where CDB has a key regional leadership role. Our speakers highlighted a range of current opportunities in the consultancy space, and members are encouraged to review the materials from the session. On 15th February we will be hosting CDB’s Social Sector Division – registration is available here

Also on Wednesday – and Thursday – we were delighted to host two Ministers from Kazakhstan - HE Saysat Nurbek, Minister of Higher Education & HE Gani Beisembayev, Minister of Enlightenment for round tables with our members and other UK companies and organisations organised in partnership with our colleagues from DBT. This was an excellent opportunity to take forward the already strong UK/Kazakh collaboration across the education sector, as well as another chance to work very closely with DBT. In addition to the Ministers, we were also joined by both Ambassadors: HE Magzhan Ilyasov and HE Kathy Leach and we are grateful to both of them for their support.    Our meeting room was packed with over 35 participants at the round table and over 60 at the reception on Wednesday evening. It was also a pleasure to welcome the Headmaster of Ardingly College and representatives of Primus Capital from Kazakhstan, who honoured us by signing in Grafton Street an MOU for establishing a new school in Kazakhstan. Another excellent example of British (and Kazakh) expertise.

Next week, more events which I hope contribute to the 5 per cent dimension: 

On Tuesday we have an online session with FCDO on Ethiopia: Climate Finance. Following BEI members’ engagement with Paul Walters, FCDO Development Director in Ethiopia, we are delighted to provide an opportunity for a detailed discussion on Climate Finance with his specialist colleagues from the British Embassy, Sehr Syed and Nina Hissen.

On Wednesday, we will host our regular Climate Change Networking Evening. On this occasion our keynote speaker will be Kate Lonsdale, Director at Climate Sense. It promises to be an excellent evening, with over 110 attendees already registered.

Finally, on Thursday 1 February we will host our regular Skills and Training Working Group.   The focus this time will be standards, with presentations by our members British Standards Institution (BSI) & Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) on the importance of standards in the education sector, challenges, and how we can take the standards dimension further. 

I wish you a peaceful weekend to prepare for next week’s energetic agenda,

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International

Recordings of recent past events:

Key events coming up include the following:

  • 30th January 2024 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.GMT: FCDO Ethiopia Climate Finance - Ethiopia is one of the UK’s most important development partnerships. We are delighted to provide an opportunity for a detailed discussion on Climate Finance with FCDO colleagues leading on climate change at the British Embassy.
  • 31st January 2024 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. GMT: Climate Change Networking Evening - An evening of thought-provoking conversation, potential new partnerships and the opportunity to meet with members of our Climate Change Working Group. This quarterly event brings together members and stakeholders to engage on the pre-COP29 agenda and the broader climate efforts being undertaken by UK organisations across the globe. We are delighted to welcome Kate Lonsdale as our keynote speaker.
  • 1st February 2024 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. GMT: Skills and Training WG: Standards - Join us for our quarterly in-person Skills & Training Working Group with a presentation from the British Standards Institution (BSI) and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) on the topic of Standards. The discussion will provide an overview of standards and the importance of standards education, followed by insights into the importance of accepted standards in the education sector, and the challenges and steps involved in developing them.
  • 6th February 2024 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. GMT: Intersection of Climate Change, Gender-Based Violence and other Harmful Practices - Women and girls can be disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis as it serves to intensify pre-existing inequalities. Our panel will showcase how they are adapting their approach in the nexus of climate change, gender-based violence and other harmful practices.
  • 7th February 2024 09:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. GMT: Education Working Group - The UK is well known for its expertise in education consultancy services: in much of the world “British education” is synonymous with quality. This group enables better collaborative engagement between members, HMG and other key stakeholders. The BEI Education Working Group is now working on the much-awaited Education report on System Strengthening, to be launched in May 2024.
  • 8th February 2024 09:00 a.m. -10:15 a.m. GMT: FCDO Development Director: Sudan - Join us as we host Ruth Lawson, the Development Director in Sudan for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and Kevin McGrath, Commercial Lead for the FCDO, who will present FCDO’s development strategy, programming and pipeline of opportunities in Sudan.
  • 13th February 2024 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. GMT: Intersection of Climate Change and Food Security - Join us for the next event in our “Intersections with Climate Change” series, this time focusing on the key intersection of Climate Change and Food Security. Our panel will discuss how their organisations are adapting their approach in response to climate change across their programmes and interventions to support and improve food security in a changing climate.
  • 15th February 2024 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. GMT: Water Resilience Working Group - The UK has a distinctive offer and world-leading expertise in sustainable and climate-resilient water services. This group, in partnership with the UK government, IFIs and other key stakeholders, aims to define that offer and leverage it to increase exports.
  • 15th February 2024 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. GMT: Working with the Caribbean Development Bank: Education & Social Inclusion - For the second in our series of events engaging with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) we will be joined by experts on Education and Social Development to share an overview of and insights into doing business with the CDB, navigating the procurement processes and exploring opportunities in the education and social development sector.
  • 22nd February 2024 09:00 a.m. -10:30 a.m. GMT: Skills and Training WG: SEAMEO VOCTECH - Join us for our monthly online Skills & Training Working Group with guest speaker, Dr. Paryono Paryono, Deputy Director of SEAMEO VOCTECH. Dr Paryono’s presentation will offer an overview of the current TVET context in the ASEAN region, an overview of SEAMEO VOCTECH’s work, and ways of partnering up with VOCTECH.

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