Dear Members and Friends,
This week, the Government launched its ‘Integrated Review’, spanning Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. The document, titled ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age’ sets out the vision for the UK’s role in the world to 2030.
We welcome the commitment to return the Development Budget to 0.7% (when fiscal conditions allow) and to invest in UK’s Soft Power, as they help to position the UK as a ‘force for good’. We also welcome the focus on the UK leading on issues relating to Climate Change and Girls’ Education, areas we and our members are already working on.
It is also positive to see the clear commitment to put ‘trade at the heart of Global Britain’, and the recognition that success in exports also creates jobs and opportunity in all parts of the UK. In addition, the government is signalling a more ‘integrated’ approach, with a promise to ‘combine hard and soft power, harness the public and private sector and deploy British expertise from inside and outside government in pursuit of national objectives’. This can only be a positive for businesses interested or active in the export market, given the challenges many have encountered historically in trying to access and leverage government to support their efforts.
The review also commits to enhanced support to connect UK businesses of all sizes to international opportunities, including access to finance, regional hubs and specific support for the SME sector. This will be critical to long term success.
As ever, however, whilst the document spells out the details around WHAT the vision is, there is still much to do on the detail of HOW it will be executed. The next level of detail and discussions will need to focus on the key questions around:
- HOW the UK Government will deliver a more integrated approach to support International Trade, through a G2G2B model where government “opens doors” at national level and the private sector provides business and technical expertise.
- HOW the UK government will support businesses of all sizes to access international opportunities, with specific focus on all parts of the UK and the SME segment
- HOW UK plc infrastructure export capabilities and expertise can play a part in this Vision, building on the role they already play
- HOW the UK will maximise the impact of its Development activities to support ‘Global Britain’
We look forward to a constructive engagement with members and the Government going forwards on these key themes.
You may also find this brief ten point summary of the Integrated Review from our colleagues at the British Foreign Policy Group think tank useful. They delivered considerable input to the IR consultation process, particularly around public attitudes, the debate on China/UK relations and on the need to connect domestic and international policymaking.
Also this week, on Wednesday 17th March, building on the momentum and impact created by our Education Working Group, we explored Education Export Opportunities in Southeast Asia. The event, in partnership with The British Council provided, by country, insights into the impact on learning as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and highlighted opportunities for UK companies in the education sector. There was a common view that there will be a shift in the future towards ‘hybrid’ learning. The discussion also highlighted specific opportunities in terms of assessment, English proficiency, capacity building in social innovation/entrepreneurship and hardware/software to support both students and teachers.
Finally, last Friday, I was delighted to take part in an ‘In The Spotlight’ interview with Infrastructure Intelligence editor, Andy Walker. I had my say…and in case you missed it, you can read about the interview here, and follow this link to watch a recording.
Next week…our two events pick up on themes included in the Integrated Review, demonstrating areas where the UK has already been a ‘force for good’:
On Tuesday 23rd March, Emma Samman from the Overseas Development Institute will share insights from the ‘Leave No One Behind’ report. They will discuss long-standing barriers to progress on ending extreme poverty and examine the implications for policy and practice on how to turn concept into action.
On Thursday 25th March, continuing the theme of poverty relief, we will hear from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) on ‘Assessing DFID’s Results in Nutrition’. Whilst the government has reached some of the world’s poorest countries with nutrition services, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a significant rise in malnutrition. Join us to hear from ICAI, UNICEF Zambia and the FCDO on the key successes and limitations of DFID’s nutrition policies.
Focus on key regions and issues , as reinforced in the Integrated Review:
On Wednesday 31st March, the InfraCo Africa team will introduce their work in providing funding and expertise needed to develop infrastructure projects in Africa into viable investment opportunities. Join us to hear about their current projects and gain insights on how to navigate the procurement process.
As part of the global focus on climate change and ahead of the UK hosting the COP26 conference in November 2021, BEI has launched its Climate Change Working Group. On Thursday 6th May, we will host a roundtable discussion with Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. The discussion will be on building resilience and sustainability into businesses as a critical next step in adapting to the impact of climate change.
The UK Trade Envoys (TE) programme was refreshed in October 2020 and we have planned a series of round-table webinars to give our members the opportunity to engage with them on markets of interest. Members will have opportunities to brief the TEs on their current priorities and highlight some of the challenges or barriers to doing business in these markets. In addition, members will gain some insights and learn about future developments and any proposed G2G engagement plans. Please contact Alexandra if you are interested in learning more and participating in the roundtable series.
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 March — Leave No One Behind — Concept to Action
25th March — ICAI -Assessing DFID’s Results in Nutrition
31st March — InfraCo Africa
5th April — Education Working Group
13th April* — Ghana Deep Dive
15th April* — Kazakhstan Deep Dive
19th April — Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
20th April — Azerbaijan Deep Dive
22nd April — Kyrgyzstan Deep Dive
6th May* — In Conversation with Lord Deben
10th June* — Doing Business in Pakistan
External News & Events
23rd March — In collaboration with the Mexico Business Integrity Initiative, the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the FCDO are hosting a webinar on ‘Doing Business in Mexico and Across Latin America: Opportunities, Realities, and Available Support’.
23rd March — The Department for International Trade will host a conference on resilience with speakers from tech, regulation, insurance and policymakers. Read more about the conference here: The Business of Resilience Conference 2021.
23rd March — The 6th Serbian Property Development Conference ‘Developing the Future’ event by the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the event is to exchange ideas and information about the property and infrastructure development sector in Serbia and the wider region. BEI members are offered discounted attendance.
23rd March — As part of the UK-Egypt Partnership for the Promotion of Sustainable Manufacturing in Africa the Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce (EBCC) and the British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) will host a webinar on Egypt’s Sustainable Agriculture Strategy.
25th March — Our sister company, The D Group is hosting an event on Resilience and Responsibility: Labour’s vision for the post-Covid economy, with Bridget Phillipson MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. The event will let businesses discuss the challenges they face in the months and years ahead, to help develop Labour’s thinking on the economic policies and frameworks the next Labour government will need to put in place.
30th March — In collaboration with IADB, Department for International Trade (DIT), will host a webinar on Procurement with the Inter-American Development Bank, about key procurement processes, future strategic sectors and projects.
30th — 31st March — Six Flags Quiddiya — Supplier Fair, in preparation for the construction of Six Flags in Quiddiya, Saudia Arabia, Bouygues Batiment International is currently seeking to engage UK suppliers for the proposed construction works, anticipated to start in the summer of 2021.
13th April — The Department for International Trade is hosting a webinar series on Catch the Train on the latest news from the sector and to further relationships between the European and UK rail markets.
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