BEI Weekly Update - 5th July 2024

Dear Members and Friends, 

Whatever your political views (and we at BEI always remain neutral), yesterday’s UK general election has delivered a clear result and a Government with a strong majority through which to implement its domestic – and international – agenda. We look forward to welcoming members of the new Government– some of whom we already know well – to understand better their priorities, to showcase how BEI members can be an active and creative part of the solution to the challenges that lie ahead and to share our insights on how strategic goals can be achieved in practice. BEI members are well placed to contribute to several of the missions which Sir Keir Starmer has set out in recent months, notably economic growth, making the UK a clean energy superpower, and raising education standards.   We have been using the past few weeks to plan ahead and will have a strong programme of events in the autumn to kick off the new period in our political history. Meanwhile, it’s a good time to BFPG’s piece on the 2024 General Election and what it means for UK Foreign Policy. 

Meanwhile, this week we were very pleased to be joined on Tuesday by HE Dominic Williams MBE, British Ambassador to Cambodia and Stewart Clayton, DBT’s Country Director, who briefed members on the opportunities for British businesses in the market, including in infrastructure, climate resilience, education and international development. We also discussed the potential for a joint BEI/FCDO/DBT Trade Mission to Cambodia in Q4, to enable market scoping and engagement with key Government representatives and relevant donors. Please contact Luisa if you’d like to know more.

On Wednesday, Nick Forbes and BFPG Director Evie Aspinall led our latest “Election Watch” discussion on “Britain’s Place in the World: Using Soft Power more effectively”. With a new Government getting down to work, the UK Soft Power Group (UK Soft Power Group) which BFPG co-convenes with the British Council, will be working precisely to help members and Government achieve this goal. Soft power comes in many forms, but it’s certainly a powerful way of describing a lot of what BEI members do. If you’re not already involved, please take a look and get in touch.

Next Tuesday, we conclude our Climate Showcase, with an important forward-looking event on: “Can data bridge the climate divide?: Challenges in Accessing Climate Risk Data in Emerging and Developing Countries”, sponsored by Fathom. The panel will include: Anne Chataigné, Senior Programme Manager, Adaptation and Resilience at IIGCC; Karena Vaughan, Head of Climate Risk and ESG at Fathom; and Luke Thompson, Climate Finance Lead, Emerging Markets at Arup. They will explore how innovative partnerships can support stakeholders in emerging and developing countries in accessing climate risk data.

While our attention is inevitably focused on what lies ahead for the UK, the people of the Caribbean are coming to terms with the devastating impacts of Hurricane Beryl. The Caribbean Development Bank is a significant funder of climate resilience and disaster risk management activities in the region, and an important partner for us at BEI.   You might wish to take a look at their insightful Annual Procurement Report for 2023 published last month. We are planning a programme of discussions in the autumn in collaboration with the CDB, including our regular Procurement and Pipeline sessions focusing on the Education and Infrastructure/Environment sectors. We will also be hosting a special session dedicated to Water Resilience, involving our working group, which no doubt will focus heavily on disaster risk management.

With a new Government and new agenda ahead of us, the next few weeks are unlikely to feel much like the usual gentle drift into the summer break. My best wishes for a good weekend, before the work starts again in earnest.

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International 

Recordings of recent past events:

Key events coming up include the following:

  • 9th July 2024 16:00-18:30 BST: Challenges in Accessing Climate Risk Data in Emerging and Developing Countries - Climate risks pose significant and multifaceted challenges for emerging and developing markets, ranging from data availability and inconsistency to the delicate balance between risk and humanitarian, economic, and environmental benefits. Our panel will explore how innovative partnerships can support stakeholders in emerging and developing countries in accessing climate risk data.
  • 17th July 2024 16:00 - 17:00 BST: Net Zero – the new economy or bad for business? - Net Zero is now part of the mainstream debate in national politics. As a result, it is also becoming a more contested agenda. What does this mean for the changing role of business in helping the UK achieve its Net Zero targets, and what does Labour’s ambition for us to be a ‘Net Zero Superpower’ mean in practice? In this session Nick will explore Labour’s approach to Net Zero, including the interplay between Net Zero and Labour’s fiscal policies.
  • 18th July 202412:00 - 13:00 BST: 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 UK government, IFIs and other key stakeholders, aims to define that offer and leverage it to increase exports.
  • 3rd September 2024 11:00 – 14:00 BST: Skills & Training WG: Skills - Sectoral Approach - Our September Skills & Training Working Group will look at the importance of taking a sectoral and thematic approach to international skills provision. This session will be led by Jonathan Ledger CMgr FCMI, Skills and Professional Bodies Specialist at the Department for Business and Trade(DBT) and new Expert Adviser to BEI’s Working Group; and Jane Rexworthy, FInstLM, Chartered FCIPD, Executive Director at People 1st International and Chair of the UK Skills Partnership (UKSP).

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