Dear Members and Friends,
The FCDO this week released a report covering details of the ODA spend for 2021, where the tangible evidence of the reduction from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI can be seen. The report confirms that in 2021, UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) was £11,496 million, a decrease of £2,982 million (20.6 per cent decrease) on 2020. It also highlights that around £550m was spent on initiatives relating to Covid and that the spend through the FCDO itself was down in both real terms (by £2,356m) and as a proportion of total spend (down from 73.7% to 72.3%).
This week, we were delighted to welcome Dr Mike Short, the first ever Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) to the Department for International Trade (DIT) for a lunch meeting. Mike is one of 23 CSA’s working across Whitehall under the guidance of Sir Patrick Vallance. Mike shared a fascinating overview of his role in DIT and how that supports UK companies in their pursuit of international business opportunities. He stressed that the UK’s advantage was less about the hardware but rather the applications in areas such as telemedicine, the internet of things (IOT) and much more. Mike has over 40 years’ experience in electronics and communications, and his role allows him to lead the department on the technical aspects of international trade and trade deals whilst also supporting inward investment.
Looking forward to next week, on 20th April, we will be hosting Turkey’s Ambassador to the UK, HE. Umit Yalcin for a lunch. The Ambassador will share his insights on commercial opportunities for UK companies in the fascinating market. In the past two decades, Turkey’s economic and social development performance has been impressive. The Turkish government is investing significantly in a wide range of infrastructure projects, from nuclear power to road and rail, and there are opportunities across many other sectors including healthcare, education, technology, financial and business services. Please contact Ella to reserve your place.
Later on the 20th April, we have an excellent in person panel lined up to discuss the fascinating subject of ‘Technology and Aid: experiences, opportunities and challenges’. Our Panel will include Louise Thomas, Deputy Director, Global Science and Emerging Technology Department at the FCDO, Helen McElhinney, Head of Policy ICRC UK and Ireland; Alex Grainger, Associate Director and Head of Geospatial at Tetra Tech and William Morrison of MetricsLed. Globally, it is hard to think of a sector that is not being transformed by digital technology, driving greater efficiency and effectiveness. The practical application of AI and Machine Learning is already well established across industries that touch our everyday lives. The situation is no different for the development sector. There are significant opportunities to leverage digital technology to support the sector — from more effective modelling and forecasting of likely issues that will arise through to more effective management of implementation of programmes and monitoring of progress.
Looking further ahead, we will be publishing details of the ‘Meet the Ambassadors’ series next week, with 12 sessions being held from 13th to 24th June.
We have also published details of some addition events in the last few days, which include the following:
On Thursday 28th April, we look forward to a panel discussion entitled: ‘Exploring the Intersection of Gender and Disability in Education’. As education systems around the globe work to rebuild and evolve following the Covid-19 pandemic, the BEI Education Working Group continues its series of senior-level engagements with key stakeholders to enable dialogue supporting recovery from the Learning Loss crisis. Our panel includes Laurène Leclercq
Education and Social Inclusion Global Technical Lead for West Africa at Sightsavers; Danielle Cornish-Spencer, Head of Portfolio: Equal Education at Social Development Direct; Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor, Inclusive Education Initiative at The World Bank; and Gloria Diamond, Policy Advocacy & Evidence Lead at UNGEI.
On Tuesday 17th May, we look forward to a session with the DIT team on ‘Global Health Strategy and Opportunities: The DIT Priorities’. The UK’s contribution to global health stretches way beyond Covid 19; and with our great reputation in health expertise, the sector represents a significant opportunity for global growth. In this event we will hear first-hand for the Department for International Trade’s team responsible for supporting this vibrant sector. They will highlight their overall strategy and detail some of the key opportunity areas they see in the future — across multiple areas. We are delighted to be joined by the DIT team, which will include Dr Aphrodite Spanou, Director for Healthcare, Life Sciences and Chemicals; Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Head Healthcare & Life Sciences; David Sheppard, Deputy Head Healthcare; and Madhukar Bose, Deputy Head Healthcare.
For more details and to register for these events, please click here.
Finally, with a long weekend ahead of us and a positive weather forecast ahead, I hope you will all take the opportunity to take a well earnt break.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International
Join our Working Groups — as part of our member focus, the working groups offer opportunities for peer-to-peer engagement, learning & sharing, profiling expertise & capabilities and highlighting thought leadership. Groups include Climate Change, Education, Infrastructure and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, and we also support a Safeguarding Leads Network. For details contact Joe McLynn
Join our LinkedIn Group and keep up with our news and our upcoming events highlights. Members can also post and share latest news and thought leadership. Join the group here.
Currently most of our events are hosted virtually and we are starting to explore face to face and hybrid event options as the government eases socialising restrictions. For any event registration support please contact the events team. Click on titles to access full event details. The full calendar of events can be viewed here.
2nd May — BEI Education Working Group
9th May — BEI Girls’ Education Working Group
18th May — BEI Climate Change Working Group
6th June — BEI Education Working Group
13th June — BEI Girls’ Education Working Group
15th June — BEI Climate Change Working Group
External News & Events
April (dates TBC) — British Embassy in Tashkent is inviting UK companies to attend its flagship event — Uzbek British Trade and Investment Council (UBTIC). This is the official bilateral trade and investment forum convened by the governments of the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. For more details, please contact Komila.Khamidova@fcdo.gov.uk.
25th — 29th April — Spatial analysis in QGIS and R — An Introduction for Environmental Scientists. Running over four half-day sessions, this hands-on and interactive online course will give you an introduction to spatial data analysis in an open-source environment. For more information click here and to sign up and pay online click here.
17th — 18th May — UKEF is hosting a supplier fair on 17th and 18th May which may be of interest to members in the water/civil engineering sector. Please find details of the hybrid event on the event page here: UKEF Supplier Fair. The event is free to attend and suppliers can register their interest and find further information on that event page.
Not a member?
For more information about British Expertise International: