Dear Members and Friends,
The Government’s reshuffle has seen changes at both FCDO and DIT, with Liz Truss taking the role of Foreign Secretary and Anne Marie Trevelyan replacing her at the DIT. We congratulate both of them on their appointments and look forward to their agenda and priorities being set out clearly in the coming weeks.
For my own part, I attended a Wilton Park dialogue on the subject of ‘Reimagining UK Development Assistance to 2030 and Beyond’. It brought together a wide range of stakeholders including FCDO and focused on some of the key considerations for the international development strategy. I was asked to briefly speak on the topic, “Partnerships — a foundation for impact”. I took the opportunity to highlight the need for inclusive engagement across both the public and private sector if we are to leverage all the expertise and capabilities that the UK brings as well as fully utilise the supply chain that has helped to make the UK the global development super power that it is today. Many agreed this was an opportunity to reset or redefine development support delivery, recognising that poverty underpins most global issues. It was felt that true partnership, collaboration and co-creation would be prerequisites for successful global engagement.
On 15th September we hosted the second event in collaboration with DIT, UK-ASEANC and the ADB — Business Opportunities in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) — Transport and Energy The ADB highlighted opportunities where UK expertise could be leveraged in offshore wind, green finance, and SMART cities, and as part of their areas of focus fund sustainable transport programmes as enablers to development. Across South and Southeast Asia there are opportunities in a variety of sectors and the team from the ADB were keen to encourage stronger engagement from the UK organisations — both in terms of sharing learning on initiatives delivered in the UK (from hydro power in the Orkneys to the oversight and governance delivered by TFL in London) and participating more directly in the projects available across the region.
On 15th September we also hosted a members only Roundtable Discussion with Baroness Hooper — Trade Envoy to Panama, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, who also takes a strong interest in activities across the whole of Central America. She stressed the goodwill that exists towards the British across Latin America, perhaps from our historical support of independence movements there, but contrasted this with our relatively low share of business in the region. She highlighted that the right building blocks are in place, with continuity agreements already in place and a memorandum between UK Export Finance and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration. The discussion with members highlighted both a number of potential opportunities that exist and surfaced a number of ideas round the way UK business could collaborate and participate effectively.
Looking forward to the next few weeks, I wanted to draw your attention to the following:
On 22nd September we look forward to a session with FCDO Chief Scientist, Charlotte Watts on the topic of The FCDO & Evidence-Based Decisions. She will share her perspective on the effective use of robust research and data for evidence-based decision making in development programmes and how this aligns to FCDO priorities.
On 28th September we will host a lunch discussion with Andrew Mitchell CMG, Director General Exports & UK Trade at the Department for International Trade (DIT). Andrew will share insights on his priorities and perspectives on some of his areas of responsibility covering among other areas; exports, stakeholder engagement, the Department’s work on global supply chains, and export programmes.
On 28th September we will also be joined by outgoing Trade Commissioner for Africa Emma Wade-Smith OBE. As she reflects on her tenure and looks ahead to future prospects of the UK-Africa relations. Before the pandemic struck, the world’s five fastest-growing economies were all African. However, Africa accounts for just 2.5% of the UK’s trade. Of that South Africa and Nigeria, the continent’s two largest economies, make up 60% of the entire UK-Africa trade relationship. Across the continent there are opportunities for UK businesses, and job creation, transport networks, power grids, renewable energy projects and digital infrastructure will help provide the foundations needed for future growth.
On 29th September we will host the second event with on Doing Business with the Caribbean Development Bank, which will provide insights on their current pipeline of opportunities in the education and social sector as well as guidelines on navigating the procurement processes. We look forward to hearing from sector experts from DIT, FCDO, CDB, and the Caribbean Council.
On 30th September we look forward to a roundtable discussion with the Lord Mayor of London for a private lunch and round table with selected members. The discussion will centre around how to combine the City’s clout with the UK’s strong offering for key international growth markets across the full infrastructure value chain.
Details of these and all our other events can be found here.
In the week that saw the launch of the AUKUS Pact a defence partnership between the UK, US and Australia designed to counter the threat of China. For those who have a specific interest in the relationship with China, I would draw your attention to a report issued last week by our sister company the British Foreign Policy Group. The report warns the UK still has a long way to go before it can effectively and constructively engage with China and secure the nation against the challenges China poses now and into the future.
We have a great programme in place and look forward to many of you joining our events. As always, I welcome suggestions for specific topics and speakers that you may wish us to consider for our programme.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International
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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 and recently added event dates are highlighted with an asterisk*.
22nd September — Climate Change Working Group and In-Person Meeting
22nd September — The FCDO & Evidence Based Decisions
28th September* — Lunch with Andrew Mitchell CMG
28th September — Roundtable with HMTC Emma Wade-Smith
28th September — Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
29th September — Doing Business with the CDB — Education and Social Sector
30th September — Lunch with Lord Mayor of London
5th October* — Roundtable with HMTC Simon Penney
7th October — Investing in Education — A CDC Group View
7th October* — Climate Finance & Development
12th October — Roundtable with Trade Envoy Mark Garnier MP
28th October — Roundtable with Trade Envoy Darren Henry MP
25th November — Doing Business with USAID
External News & Events
19th — 22nd September — The Africa Trade and Investment Forum takes place in Istanbul, Turkey. Discussions will revolve around business investment opportunities in Africa and Turkey, with the aim of building partnerships and commercial ties between African and Turkish businesses. Read more and register here.
28th — 30th September — The African Development Bank (AfDB) is hosting the fourth annual ‘Africa Resilience Forum’, this year on the topic ‘Covid-19 and Beyond: Working Together for a Resilient Recovery’.
Africa Business Perceptions Survey — The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has commissioned GovRisk, in partnership with Africa House, to survey African businesses and entrepreneurs from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa about their views and experiences when doing business in or with the UK and other international partners. Running until the end of September 2021, businesses can share their views via an online survey, HERE.
19th October GTR UK plans to return as a physical event in 2021, offering unrivalled insights into the latest exciting developments impacting on the world of UK trade and exports, and taking place in London on October 19. Details available here.
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