BEI Weekly Update
Nov 17, 2023

BEI Weekly Update - 17th November 2023

Dear Members and Friends,

This week we have had two very well-supported events.   

On Tuesday, we heard from Matt Cannell, FCDO Development Director in Bangladesh with plenty of insights on FCDO’s six key strategic priorities and programmes which aims to transition the UK-Bangladesh relationship to a deeper economic and security partnership. From the discussion, it’s clear that the “Meet the Development Director” series is highly valued by our members, and we’re really grateful to the senior FCDO officials who give their time to set out their plans. 

On Thursday, we were delighted to host a session with British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution. We heard from three fantastic speakers who showcased BII’s Climate Change Strategy, explaining how their current and future activities and portfolios are aligning with Paris Agreement goals, based on the building blocks of net zero, just transition and climate adaptation and resilience. BII’s mission is to help solve the biggest global development challenges by investing patient, flexible capital to support private sector growth and innovation. Through their investments, BII aims to create more productive, sustainable and inclusive economies in Africa, parts of Asia and the Caribbean, enabling people to build better lives for themselves and their communities. Over the next five years, at least 30 per cent of BII’s total new commitments by value will be in climate finance, making BII one of the leading investors within this space in Africa. We’re grateful to BII for joining us for this event. For us, the timing couldn’t have been better: just last week we released a member report on Accelerating Climate Finance flows. Now we are looking forward to working more with BII in this space in the coming year.

Unfortunately, as you’ll be aware, some of our other plans for this week were derailed by “events”. We’ll of course aim to reschedule as soon as we can. But it goes to show how what we – and our members – do is often at the centre of attention and so sometimes at the mercy of national and international developments.  

One big development this week was of course the appointment of David (soon to be Lord) Cameron as Foreign and Development Secretary, following James Cleverly’s move to the Home Office. Whatever your politics, there’s no denying that David Cameron brings immense experience and international networks to the position. Speaking as a former diplomat, I’d say that name recognition of a Foreign Minister can be a surprisingly huge asset to a country’s diplomacy. He was of course closely associated with the introduction of the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNP on international development, since of course reduced by Boris Johnson’s Government. With the publication of the International Development White Paper next week, he will have an early opportunity to put his stamp on the current Government’s development priorities. Together with our sister organisation BFPG, we will be hosting a session on Tuesday morning to react to the new paper.

On Wednesday, we are hosting a session of interest to those working in Africa, on profit repatriation. This will be led by Charlie Bird from VertoFX, Anthony Kirui from Absa, and Tedd George from Kleos Advisory UK, who will discuss the challenges organisations have been facing in some African markets with currency volatility, foreign exchange controls, economic instability and regulatory restrictions. Join us as our panel explores some of these complex challenges, and hear from some of the organisations who can help companies navigate them.

Finally for next week, on Thursday, we have the ASEAN-UK Supporting the Advancement of Girls (ASEAN-UK SAGE) Framework Presentation, for which we will be joined by colleagues from the British Council who will provide further information on the 5 year programme and upcoming phases open for procurement.

If you’re planning to sign up to one or more of these events (or even if you’re not), I’m glad to report that our website, which has been suffering somewhat, is now up and running as usual.   Do of course let us know if you have any problems with it.

Meanwhile, as you prepare for (I hope) a restful weekend, you may like to add BFPG’s latest report on the challenges of sanctions policy to your reading list.

With best wishes for the weekend,

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International

Recordings of recent past events:

Key events coming up include the following:

  • 21st November 2023 17:00 - 18:15 GMT: Making Sense of the International Development White Paper - Join the British Foreign Policy Group on the 21st November for a panel event to explore and assess the refreshed ambitions and the priorities laid out in the new International Development White Paper.
  • 22nd November 2023 10:00-11:30 GMT: Challenges and Solutions for Profit Repatriation in African Markets - For multinational organisations operating in Africa, the repatriation of profits can be a challenge in some markets due to currency volatility, foreign exchange controls, economic instability, and regulatory restrictions. Join us as our panel explores some of these complex challenges, and hear from some of the organisations who can help companies navigate them.
  • 23rd November 9.00 - 10.00 GMT: ASEAN-UK Supporting the Advancement of Girls’ Education Programme, run by British Council - Following the successful launch event of the ASEAN-UK Supporting the Advancement of Girls’ Education programme, which took place in May at our offices led by the FCDO Mission to the ASEAN. We are delighted to be joined by colleagues from the British Council who will provide further information on the 5 year programme and upcoming phases open for procurement.
  • 29th November 9.00 - 12.00 GMT: UN Roadshow, led by the Department for Business and Trade - We are delighted to host the UN Procurement Roadshow with Department for Business & Trade (DBT) on 29th November 2023 from 9.00 – 12.00 GMT. Colleagues from DBT will present on the topic of ‘How To Do Business with the UN’, providing an introduction to UN Procurement and the opportunities available for UK companies. There will also be the opportunity to book 1-2-1 meetings with the DBT UN experts based in Copenhagen, Geneva and New York.
  • 12th December 2023 09:00-10:00 GMT: FCDO Development Director Series: Syria - Join us as we host Peter McDermot, the Development Director in Syria for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) who will present FCDO’s development strategy, programming and pipeline of opportunities in Syria.

Register for an upcoming event →

External Events

  • 18th-19th November 2023: Guyana Diaspora Sustainability & Investment Conference, London - Network with a group of seasoned international executives, businesspeople, academia and government officials from Guyana and learn about business opportunities in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world in sectors such as energy, technology, healthcare, education, and manufacturing.
  • 21st November 2023 - The Caspian Policy Centre is hosting an Energy Security Conference 9:30-12:30 at Arundel House, Arundel Street, London WC2R3DX. Regional Ambassadors will provide overviews. Business representatives, energy experts and international organisations will discuss energy security, Middle Corridor infrastructure investment, renewables and sustainable transitions. For details contact: 
  • 28th-29th November 2023 - The Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council (UBTIC) is an annual forum designed to connect British businesses with their Uzbek counterparts and leading policy makers. This year the event will take place across London, with sectoral sessions focussed on IPO and Eurobonds, Infrastructure, Financial & Professional Services, Investment and Trade potential of Uzbekistan, Fintech and IT opportunities of Uzbekistan, followed by the Business Forum.

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