Dear Members and Friends,
We were delighted this week to host two excellent sessions focusing on opportunities in very different parts of the world.
On Tuesday 13th April, Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, provided an excellent overview into one of the fastest growing economies in the world, covering the socio-political environment, the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Ghana especially in infrastructure (road improvements, rail and airport expansions), AgriTech and healthcare. He also highlighted the potential role Ghana could play as a gateway to the rest of Africa through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which has signed up 54 of the 55 African Union nations. The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization. Members are welcome to watch a recording of the event on our website.
On Thursday 15th April we heard from the Chargé d’Affaires in Nur Sultan, Jonathan Layfield, and British Embassy colleagues on Kazakhstan’s politics, economic development and the wide range of opportunities the country has to offer British businesses. The country has a stable credit rating and is rated 25th in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Global ranking. Through its Astana International Financial Centre, it provides a strong regulatory framework and practices English Common Law, meaning there is significant confidence and certainty for businesses looking to operate in the country. As a landlocked and developing state, the economy is still relatively oil dependent, while also highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The need to rebalance the economy — with more clean energy, low carbon technology, innovative infrastructure and engineering solutions in mining, agribusiness, healthcare — creates real opportunities for UK companies.
One of the many opportunities mentioned on the call was an MOU with EBRD (and other funders involved) to transform the country’s healthcare provision, replacing 40 existing hospitals with 20 new ones. Members are invited to watch the event recording on our website, and contact Alexandra for more information.
Next week, we continue our focus on the countries in the Central Asia and Trans-Caucasus region, with Deep Dives covering Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan; you can read more about the events and register here.
In addition, our Working Groups in Climate Change and Diversity & Inclusion will be meeting to push forward these critical issues. For information about these Working Groups and please contact Joe.
As I was able to take some time out with my family this week, I reflected on the relative positions of our members in infrastructure and development. On the one hand, I feel there are encouraging signs of confidence returning in infrastructure — with projects delayed beginning to be pushed forward, and nations recognising the need to ‘build back stronger’ and invest in their infrastructure as economies slowly emerge from the pandemic. On the other hand, the UK position on development and the application of the cut on ODA budgets to 0.5% of GDP continues to be unclear and a source of anxiety to members in this space. We hope that there will be clear news about the implementation of these cuts in the coming weeks.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International
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Currently all our events are hosted virtually and look forward to exploring hybrid event options as the government eases socialising restrictions. For any event registration support please contact Matthew Gibbons. Click on titles to access full event details. The full calendar of events can be viewed here and recently added event dates are highlighted with an asterisk*.
19th April — Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
20th April — Azerbaijan Deep Dive
21st April — Climate Change Working Group
22nd April — Kyrgyzstan Deep Dive
29th April — Risk Mapping in the Middle East
5th May — Leave No One Behind — Concept to Action
6th May — In Conversation with Lord Deben
25th May* — Doing Business in Indonesia
9th June — Doing Business in Pakistan
External News & Events
Over the coming months, the Department for International Trade (DIT) will host a series of events on clean growth in partnership with overseas colleagues.
18th May — The British-Kazakh Society is hosting a webinar on ‘Science and Industry in Central Asia — Dynamic degrees: Unpacking Advanced Qualifications and Skills, Pathways for Scientific and Industrial Development’ with lecturer Dr. Miljana Radivojevic from University College London and Dr. Ainur Seitkan from Astana International University.
13th — 16th July — The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will host an interactive online course on Spatial Analysis in QGIS and R — An Introduction for Environmental Scientists.
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