Dear Members and Friends,
In her first staff meeting at the FCDO this week, the new foreign secretary, Liz Truss reported that she had discussed with her team ‘a positive, proactive and patriotic mission’ in three key areas:
- To build stronger economic and security ties with allies
- To make the UK safer and more competitive
- To support development around the world
This would seem to indicate a positive direction for members, and we look forward to more detail emerging, in particular around the practical aspects behind building ‘stronger economic ties’, making the UK ‘more competitive’ and supporting ‘development’ globally. With the Spending Review outcome also only a few weeks away, we look forward to more clarity on proposed spend and then greater visibility of a longer-term pipeline.
We have held three excellent sessions in the last week. Early in the week, we were joined by outgoing Trade Commissioner for Africa Emma Wade-Smith OBE who reflected on her time in Africa and shared her thoughts on the future prospects for UK-Africa relations. It was great to hear Emma reflect on some of the fantastic achievements that she and the DIT team have made over the last few years in continuing to strengthen and champion the UK’s significant relationship with the continent. For UK companies wishing to leverage the many opportunities Africa offers, “strategic patience” was the greatest advice. We wish Emma the best of luck in her new role as HM Trade Commissioner for North America & Consul General to New York.
On Wednesday, we hosted the second part of our event series with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Council, and DIT LATAC, who delivered an excellent presentation on opportunities in education for UK companies looking to export to the region. The CDB also presented an insightful overview of how to navigate the procurement process and search for opportunities, and I’d encourage those of you with interest in the sector to look over the recording once published on our website.
Finally, British Expertise International and a small group of members had the privilege of joining a roundtable discussion at Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of London on Thursday. What was clear throughout the meeting was that there are some significant overlaps in areas of priorities between BEI members and the Lord Mayor’s office, particularly on the topic of Climate Finance, where we look forward to launching and progressing with our new sub-group over the coming weeks.
This week was also ‘inclusion week’ and our Diversity & Inclusion Working Group met for a discussion around engaging C-Suite leadership in driving EDI in organisations. The cross-sector group is now working on creating a register of member D&I commitments and policies, and working collaboratively to support members at all stages of D&I journey. We will be looking to host an event this month as part of Black History Month which will put a spotlight on black culture, heritage and accomplishments in a wide range of endeavours throughout history.
With just a month to go until COP26, we are also looking forward to an interesting session on 7th October — Climate Finance & Development, with Rachel Turner, FCDO Director of the International Finance. With Climate Change high on everyone’s agenda, we have asked Rachel to share her insights on this key issue, as well as some perspectives on FCDO priorities. Funders like the FCDO and recipients will need to ensure that climate finance effectively contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and results in positive development outcomes and poverty reduction.
A reminder that we will be holding a brief evening event on October 5th to kick off the programme for our 2022 Future Leadership Training, The Future Group, designed to appeal to candidates who are identified as most likely to become Board/C-Suite leaders in the next 5–10 years. This course is available to all BEI members and networks, and the event will give you a chance to hear from previous alumni, their sponsors about the value of the course and about the plans for next year’s cohort.
Sadly, two of our events planned for next week have had to be postponed, owing to unforeseen circumstances. The sessions with Simon Penney and the CDC will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.
Finally, having completed my own running challenge last weekend, I would like to wish the thousands of runners taking part in the London Marathon the very best of luck, a safe passage, and success in their fund-raising efforts.
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*.
7th October — Climate Finance & Development
12th October — Roundtable with Trade Envoy Mark Garnier MP
14th October* — Updates on the FCDO-EU Relationship
28th October — Roundtable with Trade Envoy Darren Henry MP
25th November* — **NEW DATE** Lunch with Andrew Mitchell CMG
25th November — Doing Business with USAID
External News & Events
3rd October — Join DIT for an event on the future of the petrochemical industry, looking at UK Renewable Energy Solutions. With a reduction in oil prices due to decreased demand caused by the pandemic and a global call to address climate change, the time is right to lay the foundation for sustainable clean energy growth.
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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