BEI Weekly Update - 5th April 2024

Dear Members and Friends,

I hope that you have returned refreshed after the Easter break. 

The news from the Middle East is of course relentlessly bad: the deaths of a number of aid workers, Britons and others, in Gaza has understandably dominated the news, and brings very much home the dangers of humanitarian and development work. Adding to the tragedy is the fact that we seem no closer to a resolution of the underlying conflict. While division in the region is hardly new, the “international community” (whatever that is coming to mean in a multipolar world) does not appear to have the leverage to bring about a peace with justice. Humanitarian relief will be needed for a long time to come, just as the dangers of delivering it become more acute. 

Even if Gaza has overtaken the news agenda, we cannot lose sight of Ukraine and the ongoing challenge to the West, and Europe in particular, to step up. Many of our members are intensely involved in supporting Ukraine, but again hopes for ending the conflict ultimately lie at the strategic level. As NATO marks its 75th Anniversary, our colleagues at British Foreign Policy Group have a new piece taking stock of the Alliance at its most testing moment since the end of the Cold War. You can read BFPG’s piece here.

Returning to Grafton Street this week, we have one event to report on. On Wednesday, the final Education Working Group meeting before the publication of the upcoming education report. We are very grateful to all 49 (!) members who contributed to the group, and especially to our Steering Group members Arup, Change School and Education Development Trust. Report writing is now full steam ahead and the launch will take place in mid-May. More details to follow.  

We resume a full programme of events next week after the Easter break. On Tuesday 9 April, we will have an in person panel discussion on “Developing Education & Social Infrastructure”.   Our speakers will be: Hayley Gryc, Education Business Leader, UKIMEA at Arup; Dean Purvis, Global Head of Infrastructure at Gleeds; and Simon Wareing, Commercial Lead also at Gleeds.  There is some space if you have not yet registered. 

I hope you have seen my letter before the Easter break announcing a series of Strategy International events with Nick Forbes CBE, Senior Adviser, on the agenda of a potential future Labour Government (if you would like a copy, please let Max know).     

The first event in this series will be next Wednesday 10 April and should be of interest to many BEI members. The theme will be: “Is Achieving Greater Social Value Through Procurement a Political Vanity Project?”  Labour’s agenda includes plans for a clear industrial strategy, a commitment to work in partnership with business and to address key issues such as the skills gap. In the context of these commitments, Labour sees procurement as a strategic lever to support economic growth and has set out its intention to include stretching social, environmental and labour clauses in the tendering and awarding of contracts. In this session, Nick will explore what this might mean and how business can prepare. 

For those with an interest in Armenia, we have just opened registrations for a UK Trade Mission which will take place between 14-17 May 2024, coinciding with EBRD’s Annual Meeting and Business Forum which this year will take place in Yerevan. The trade mission programme, in partnership with the British Embassy in Yerevan and Enterprise Armenia, includes a range of meetings with key stakeholders from public and private sector and other networking opportunities, as well as participation in sessions at EBRD’s Annual Forum which is bringing together decision makers from the markets where EBRD is active, alongside a broad range of international delegations. For a copy of the draft programme and to register your interest (deadline 10 April), please email Alexandra.  

Finally, my thanks to those to whom I have been writing asking for your thoughts on a number of specific trade issues and opportunities. I appreciate the time you are taking in responding and hope that you find it useful to have your voice heard. Meanwhile, I wish you a good weekend and a successful start to next week’s business. 

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International

Recordings of recent past events:

Key events coming up include the following:

  • 9th April 2024 09:00 - 11:00 GMT: Developing Education & Social Infrastructure - Join us for a panel discussion on the role of Education in the context of Social Infrastructure. This event will offer an overview of the development of Education Infrastructure across sectors with speakers from Arup and Gleeds.
  • 10th April 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Is Achieving Greater Social Value Through Procurement a Political Vanity Project? - Labour’s agenda includes a clear industrial strategy, a commitment to work in partnership with business and address key issues like the skills gap. Within this wider commitment, procurement is a strategic lever to support economic growth. The intention to include stretching social, environmental and labour clauses in the tendering and awarding of contracts has also been made very clear. In this session, Nick will explore the specific implications of this policy and outline the areas of preparation needed.
  • 16 April 2024 15:00 - 16:30 BST: Innovative Financial Instruments for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation - The urgency of addressing the climate crisis has spurred the need for innovative financial instruments to facilitate mitigation and adaptation efforts. Our panel will explore how green bonds, climate-focused venture capital funds and carbon pricing mechanisms can help bridge the funding gap by channelling capital towards environmentally sustainable projects and technologies.
  • 18th April 2024 09:30 - 11:00 BST: Operating in Complex Environments - Join us for a panel discussion on Operating in Complex Environments. This event will explore the challenges encountered when working in complex markets, covering safety, risk management, team management and project delivery. Speakers from Eagle Scientific, Prevail Partners and International Rescue Committee (IRC) will offer insights, lessons learnt and practical solutions to current challenges.
  • 23rd April 2024 10:00 - 11:30 BST: Kenya - Opportunities in Infrastructure, Energy, and Climate - We are delighted to be hosting colleagues from the UK Department of Business and Trade based at the British High Commission in Kenya for a deep dive session on the opportunities for UK businesses in infrastructure, energy and climate.
  • 23rd April 2024 15:00 - 16:30 BST: USAID: Developing Strategies - Join us for the latest event in our series exploring the practicalities of working with USAID. This event will offer members the opportunity to hear from USAID colleagues about the USAID Policy Framework and the processes of advancing Country Development Cooperation Strategies (CDCSs).
  • 24th April 2024 16:00 p.m. - 17:30 p.m. BST: ICAI Review: International Climate Finance - A new review from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) assesses whether the UK is on track to meet its international climate finance commitments. Join Chief Commissioner Tamsyn Barton and other stakeholders to discuss the findings of the report and how UK aid can be used most effectively to meet this monumental global challenge.
  • 24th April 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Strengthening National Security and Resilience in Global Omni-crisis - In the midst of unprecedented geopolitical pressures, Labour has committed to a Strategic Defence and Security Review in its first year in office. In terms of resilience, Labour has already committed to proactive measures to embed this at the very heart of Government, including a new cabinet sub-committee on resilience and a Minister for Resilience in the Cabinet Office to take a ‘cross-department’ view of the key issues and required responses.
  • 25th April 2024 08:45 - 11:15 BST: Maximising the UK’s skillset in achieving SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure - As part of the Lord Mayor’s Coffee Colloquies series, British Expertise International and The D Group are pleased to present a special session exploring the UK’s role in achieving SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Our panel will discuss how the UK, by working in partnership, is contributing to SDG 9’s goals in the UK and globally.
  • 30th April 2024 15:00 - 16:30 BST: SME Wider Community Engagement with the FCDO SME Advisory Forum - BEI is delighted to announce the collaboration towards supporting the members of FCDO’s SME Advisory Forum to engage with the wider SME community. Join us for our first virtual meeting led by the FCDO SME Advisory Forum members: Charlie Duff, Managing Director and Vice President, Alinea International and Sue Griffiths, Managing Director, Social Development Direct.
  • 1st May 2024 16:00 - 19:00 BST: Climate Change Networking Evening - Join us for an evening of thought-provoking conversation. Our keynote speaker this time is Dr Steven Wade, Technical Director at AtkinsRéalis. Steven will discuss several “wicked” climate change problems with rapid increases in risk affecting large numbers of people in the UK and internationally, and reflect how our approaches to risk assessment and adaptation planning have changed since the 1990s.
  • 8th May 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: The Devolution Arms and Place Race - Both main political parties have flagged an increasing commitment to regional devolved decision making. For Labour, greater economic devolution is a key pillar of their emerging industrial strategy. They are actively empowering local leaders to bring their knowledge to bear and tailor economic policy to support growth and aligned implementation of their core missions.
  • 14th May 2024 09:00 - 10:30 BST: FCDO Development Director: Indonesia & Minister-Counseller Development in UK Mission to ASEAN - Join us as we host Amanda McLoughlin, FCDO Development Director in Indonesia for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), as well as Minister-Counsellor Development for the UK Mission ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations), who will present FCDO’s development strategy, programming and pipeline of opportunities in Indonesia and in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat.
  • 23rd May 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Britain’s Place in the World: Linking Foreign and Defense Policy with Trade - Labour has spelled out its view of ‘progressive realism’, which sees the UK becoming more active in promoting a values-based global order. In addition, Labour’s industrial strategy is clear on the need to identify ‘global champions’. From a range of sectors, these businesses are highly productive and create thousands of well-paid jobs. Labour has made it clear they understand the need to create a stable environment for these global champions.
  • 26th June 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: What is Infrastructure for Opportunity and Does it Mean Game Over for Levelling Up? - Labour clearly sees the link between infrastructure investment and wider economic growth. They have expressed their intention to drive quicker and cheaper delivery of major projects, unlocking private sector investment. The announcement of the British Infrastructure Council signals Labour’s intention to turn this into reality.
  • 3rd July 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Britain’s Place in The World: Using UK Soft Power More Effectively - If Labour wins the election, they will be keen to ensure that the UK’s reputation on a global stage becomes part of its toolkit to drive economic and social prosperity. From their commitment to the culture and the arts, to their belief in the strength of the UK’s reputation across sport and education, soft power has a key role to play.

Register for an upcoming event →

External Events

  • 30th April - 1st May 2024: Innovation Zero 2024 Agenda: Innovation and Leadership in the Low Carbon Transformation: Innovation Zero, the UK's largest sustainability conference, returns to London Olympia for the second edition on 30 April - 1 May 2024, alongside its new co-located event, Infrastructure Zero. Join our Director of Climate Resilience and Infrastructure, Alexandra Barnes, as she chairs a panel titled “The Future of Water: How we Advance Resilience in a Changing Climate” at Innovation Zero 2024.

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