Dear Members and Friends,
This week our sister company and think tank, The British Foreign Policy Group (BFPG), published their Annual Survey Report on national attitudes across a range of UK foreign policy components relevant to the BEI membership and network. These components include Trade, International Aid, Defence & Security and Carbon net zero. This was BFPG’s biggest annual survey yet, and we look forward to organising member events where BFPG will both report on the main findings and drill down into sector and theme-specific.
Two snippets caught my attention from the BFPG report’s snapshot, “Trade policy continues to be an area of emerging interest to Britons, and the lack of knowledge about this policy area could prove both a weakness and an advantage to free trade proponents.” and “There is no question that most Britons support the UK providing foreign aid and development, but a large majority believe it should be paused or reduced while the UK economy recovers.”
Recent unconfirmed information around the expected UK aid cuts paints a concerning picture for the UK supplier market and Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) delivery partners. With expected budget cuts in excess of 50% on some programmes, and no sight of a future pipeline — the FCDO continues to deliberate on what the results of the 2020 Spending Review will mean for development programmes, as we await the outcomes of the Integrated Review. For many UK aid delivery partners, business planning is all but impossible and future sustainability is under threat. In responding to recent questions from the IDC, the Foreign Secretary insisted that aid cuts would be based on strategic priorities, rather than “salami-slicing” aid programmes. We look forward to seeing how this translates in practical terms.
The Climate Change/Net Zero Working Group draft ToRs will be shared with members who have indicated their interest in joining the group. As already highlighted, with the UK government’s key focus on hosting COP26 this year, along with a string of climate-themed forums, we look to profile and showcase our members and partners’ expertise and capabilities. Members can register their interest in joining the group with Joe McLynn.
Next week, Tuesday 23 February, we look forward to a discussion with UK Minister of State for Exports, Graham Stuart as he speaks on Post-Brexit Trade & Sustainability. The roundtable, aimed at senior level executives, will offer a direct opportunity to discuss and engage with the Minister at one of the most critical periods in Britain’s exporting history. The Minister will share his perspectives on the latest and upcoming developments in the British export sector, as well as insights on the all-consuming climate change/Net Zero agenda as the UK looks to host the COP26 conference in November 2021.
Earlier this week we hosted a successful and well attended UK Trade Mission Scoping Event with the Tajik Ambassador to the UK, Ambassador Khalifazoda, along with the Tajik-British Chamber of Commerce and Tajinvest. Hans-Joachim Siegert of Tajinvest shared a business-to-business portal that may be of interest to our members.
Future event highlights…
On Thursday 4 March we are excited to host a panel from InfraCo Asia as they present and highlight their work in providing capital to develop early-stage infrastructure projects into viable investment opportunities. The presentation will also include insights on an opportunities pipeline that will be of interest to members and our networks. You can register to attend here: Vision for the Future.
On Wednesday 10 March, we look forward to hearing from Nick Dyer, the UK’s Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs. At this crucial time for humanitarian efforts where more than 20 million people in north Africa and the Middle East face famine, Nick will share insights on his role and how it fits into the wider UK aid strategy and global position as a ‘force for good’. Spaces are limited for this event, should you wish to join please contact Matthew Gibbons to register your interest.
As the average temperatures start to rise into double figures, and the Covid-19 infections continue to go down, let’s hope that the UK government will see it fit to ease the restrictions and we can look forward to meeting again in person in the not-too-distant future.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International
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The events below will be hosted via webinar. 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*.
23rd February, 2021 — Minister Stuart: Post Brexit Trade & Sustainability
1st March, 2021 — BEI Education Working Group
4th March, 2021* — InfraCo Asia: Vision for the Future
10th March, 2021 — Infrastructure opportunities — India
10th March, 2021 — Addressing Famine and Education Challenges
11th March, 2021 — BEI Infrastructure Exports Working Group
17th March, 2021 — British Council — Education Export Opportunities in South East Asia
20th April, 2021 — Azerbaijan Deep-Dive
External News & Events
Cambridge Partnership for Education published the first volume of a report, Shock to the System: Lessons Learned from Covid19, which examines how the crisis affects learning and teaching. The report makes practical recommendations for education leaders and policy makers on how to design programmes for the future of education.
The UK-Georgian Trade Hub was launched in January and facilitates import-export between the two countries. Georgia has liberal trade policies that provide investors with opportunities to access the country’s 3.7 million residents. The country also provides access to access other markets in the region.
23rd February, 2021 — From Cow Pasture to Smart City — The Western Sydney International Airport. The Australian British Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the British High Commission and UK Department for International Trade, will be hosting the first of three webinars bringing together UK and Australian expertise on smart cities.
24th February, 2021 — The Safeguarding Leads Network (SLN) in collaboration with the Safeguarding, Resource and Support Hub will be hosting webinar on ‘Sharing Experiences in Responsible Safeguarding’. Presentations will cover the key priorities of focus for the SLN: Leadership, Survivor Support, Diversity and Inclusion, Improving Safeguarding Capacity, and Reporting Mechanisms. Check on the RSH Hub for further details on how to join and share your questions.
1st — 4th March, 2021 — The DIT-LATAC Roadshow 2021 is now less than one month away! The event will feature specialist sector-focused sessions and there will also be opportunities to book 1–2–1 meetings with DIT experts. Find out more, and register for this year’s Roadshow: https://bit.ly/36wG3tG
4th March, 2021 — The Secret to Mobilizing Funds for Agri SMEs. Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa contributes to the economic development, employment, and food security of the continent. Improving the information flow between lenders and agriSMEs can help address this finance gap.
10th March — SBJBC workshop on Training Opportunities in Saudi Tourism, Sports & Entertainment Sector. Please have a look at our events page for full details on the workshop or click here to register your interest in participating.
15th — 19th March 2021 — the Connect.KG virtual conference that will bring together local and international startups, digital businesses, and IT industry specialists. https://connectkg.com/
6th- 9th April 2021 — Brazil — Embraer Virtual Technology Showcase. Embraer are designing a new regional aircraft and are looking for future technologies, such as batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen fuel and connective manufacture through Industry 4.0. For more information, contact: email@example.com
21st and 22nd April, 2021 — Using Drones to Map Habitats. The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has a two-day interactive online course that will provide participants with the basic skills needed to take images collected from a UAV platform such as a quadcopter, process the images into a scene suitable for image processing, and generate classified images.
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