BEI Weekly Update
Oct 21, 2022

BEI Weekly Update — 21st October 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

It would be odd to write about this week without brief reflection on the goings-on in Westminster. In the near-term for any company partnering with or looking for funding decisions from HMG, these are challenging times. Looking out further, there will be growing concern amongst those involved in providing services internationally where respect for and confidence in ‘brand Britain’ underpins customer engagement. Without sounding like Dr. Pangloss, I’d offer three thoughts. Embarrassing and worrying as the political turmoil is, things will be steadied in the near-term. Political self-preservation will ensure that. Second, behind the political goings on we have a functioning, professional civil service. Of course, there will be private sector frustrations with it and, to be fair, its ability to give our members much-needed clarity is inevitably impacted by lack of strategic and policy uncertainty. In recent weeks, however, I’ve been impressed by the service’s resilience amidst all the turmoil. Third, we are as a nation, aided and abetted by a free press that feasts on bad news, ‘world-class’ at self-deprecation and doing ourselves down. In the parts of the world I’m most familiar with, there remains not only long-term respect for the UK but a huge, if a little impacted, font of goodwill and desire that we get our house in order. The many embassies BEI deals with cite plenty of business streams where they need and want support.

Looking out across that World and to the many opportunities whose existence are detached from the political pantomime in SW1, BEI has some excellent events coming up. These include overviews of regional opportunities across five markets in the Middle East and the entire LATAC Region to name but two.

In this time when International Trade is key to the UK’s foreign policy arsenal and economic performance, you might be interested to read the latest report from our sister organisation, The British Foreign Policy Group. This report authored by Dr. Rebecca Harding, BFPG Senior Research Fellow, with contributions from David Lansdman, BFPG Senior Advisor, looks to address how the UK can accelerate export growth without significant additional expenditure at a time when it plays an increasingly important role in UK foreign policy.

The paper makes a number of recommendations, which include international trade being included in the updating of the Integrated Review as a key part of international security and the need for government to provide immediate practical support to exporters by providing easy to access information on sanctions, export controls, and regulations and tariffs associated with international trade. You can access a copy here: UK Trade Priorities in 2023 and Beyond: Opportunities to Accelerate Trade Growth — British Foreign Policy Group (

A brief schedule for the events in the next two week is as follows:

25th October: Extreme Weather and Climate Resilience Roundtable with the Caribbean Development Bank
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 BST. Join us for a virtual roundtable discussion with representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank and members of the BEI Climate Change Working Group as we explore synergies and share knowledge around the three topics: Climate Resilient Building Assessment, Early Warning System Design and Environmental and Social Safeguarding.

26th October: Climate Finance: The Development Finance Institutions’ Perspective
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 BST. This session will outline and discuss the definitions, focus, plans and priorities of climate finance from the point of view of three DFIs: EBRD, BII and IFC.

26th October: BEI Education and Skills workshop and networking evening
In-person workshop and reception at 23 Grafton Street. 16:30 for 17.00–18.30 BST.
This event will mark the first activity of the newly launched Skills & Training Working Group and aims to bring together Skills and Training providers from across a range of sectors such as education, climate, construction and defence. Our first event’s format will consist of a brainstorming exercise on the current Skills and Training context from a supply and demand perspective, followed by a discussion on current barriers and funding available.

31st October: Middle East Regional Market Overview
In-person briefing at 23 Grafton Street. 13:00 for 13:30–17:00 GMT, panel and 1–1 clinics.
Join us for an in-person briefing as we take a regional focus on the Middle East, covering the markets of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan. We will be joined by the five DIT Trade Directors and the Head of the MeAP International Markets Team. This event is being delivered in partnership with the DIT, The GREAT Campaign and the International Markets Team.

1st November: Climate Change Networking Evening
In-Person event at 23 Grafton Street. 17:00–19:30 GMT. Presentation and reception with Jane Wilkinson, Head of Climate Change and Environment Practice, ABT Britain.
Join us for an evening of thought-provoking conversation, potential new partnerships and the chance to meet with members of our Climate Change Working Group. With this event being hosted one week prior to COP27, we are providing a space for those of us unable to attend the COP to have the necessary conversations at this critical time. Jane Wilkinson, who has over 18 years’ experience advising governments and organisations on strategies to implement climate action, including serving as the director of climate finance for the Australian Department of Climate Finance, will deliver the key-note speech.

2nd November: Rwanda Education Deep Dive Virtual event 12:00–13:30 GMT. Join us for a deep dive into the education opportunities in Rwanda led by the Department for International Trade. Anna Wilson, the Development Director at British High Commission in Kigali, will provide us with an insight into the key education priorities for UK plc looking to do business in Rwanda.

3rd November: Financing Development — Insights, Challenges & Risks
Virtual Event 10:00–11:30 GMT. Join us for an online session where our key speakers explore the subject of financing development, providing us with their key insights around this topic as well as the challenges and risks of development finance today. We will be joined by representatives from British International Investment, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Crown Agents Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.

3rd November: LATAC Trade Opportunities with HMTC LATAC
In-person briefing at 23 Grafton Street. 16:30 for 17:00–19:30 GMT, panel and reception.
Join us from 16:30 for a 17:00 start as we welcome Jonathan Knott, DIT’s Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean and his team, for an in-person briefing on the export opportunities for UK-based businesses across the region. This will be followed by a networking drinks reception featuring regional flavours from 18:00 to 19:30 GMT.
Jonathan will provide an overall update on the region and its priorities, together with a focus upon areas of opportunity for UK-based businesses across the key areas, including Sustainable Infrastructure, Climate Adaptation, Education, Healthcare and Food & Drink, to name but a few.

Very Best Wishes  

Peter O’Kane
British Expertise International/Strategy International

Longer Term View of Events

16th November: in-person roundtable with Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Panama, Dominican Republic & Costa Rica — Rt. Hon Baroness Hooper CMG. Contact to reserve a place.

17th November: BEI Education Working Group with Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP
We are delighted to host our quarterly in-person Education WG session which will have Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP as a speaker to discuss the International Development Strategy and his perspective on what would make an effective implementation of the strategy.

24th November: Doing Business with the Caribbean Development Bank — Session one: Infrastructure, Energy and Environment
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 GMT. The first session in this year’s ‘Doing Business with the CDB’ seminar will cover opportunities in Infrastructure, Energy and Environment. This event series provides insights on CDB’s key sector plans, a forward look on their business pipelines and opportunities, and an update on CDB’s strategic direction.

29th November: Doing Business with the Caribbean Development Bank — Session Two: Education, Social, Trade and Governance
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 GMT. The second session in this year’s ‘Doing Business with the CDB’ seminar will cover opportunities in Education, Social, Trade and Governance, whilst also providing insights on key sector plans and opportunities for UK Business.

30th November: Africa’s Development Dynamics 2022
Virtual event 10:00–11:30 GMT. Arthur Minsat, who heads the OECD Development Centre’s Unit for Africa, Middle East and Europe, will share the highlights of this flagship report prepared by the African Union Commission and of the OECD Development Centre.

Summary of events held in the last two weeks

Which feature links to meetings slides and recordings

11th October: FCDO Indonesia: Development Priorities with Amanda McLoughlin, the Development Director in Indonesia for the FCDO. Recording and slides available here.

12th October: Opportunities for Climate Resilience and Energy Transition in Uzbekistan with His Excellency Said Rustamov, the Uzbekistan Ambassador to the UK and representatives of EBRD, ADB and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Energy. Recording and slides available here.

13th October: Malaysia : Market Opportunity Overview with His Excellency Charles Hay MVO and his team discussing opportunities in Malaysia for UK businesses. Recording and slides available here.

17th October: Doing Business with the EBRD
In-person event at 23 Grafton Street with option to join virtually. 14:00–16:30 BST. We heard about the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s strategy, guidance on its procurement processes and how to navigate them, and an overview of EBRD’s Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility. Recording and slides available here.

18th October: Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at the OECD
Virtual event 10:00–11:30 BST. During this session Andreas will provide policy advice and analysis drawn from OECD’s Future of Education and Skills 2030 project. Recording and slides available here.

18th October: Mexico Education Deep Dive with DIT
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 BST. Julio Evaristo, Head of Education, Healthcare and Life Sciences, and Cassandra Vargas, Trade Officer for Education, Health and Life Sciences will provide us with an insight into the key education priorities and an overview of their pipeline. Recording and slides available here.

20th October: Thailand Education Deep Dive with DIT
Virtual event 09:00–10:30 BST. Join us for a deep dive into the education opportunities in Thailand led by the Department for International Trade. The quality of education in Thailand still remains a weak point for the country’s human development. Recording available here.

20th October: OMFIF/ABSA Africa Financial markets Index Report
In-person briefing and networking reception at 23 Grafton Street. 16:30–19:00 BST.
No recording available. You can find a copy of the report here.

Upcoming external events

3rd November: ADB Procurement Clinic, 0800–0900 GMT. Includes overview of Simplified Consultants’ Qualifications Selection pilot.

13th — 14th November: B20 Indonesia 2022. The official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community.

16th — 18th November: APEC CEO Summit Thailand. APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) is an important forum for advancing the prosperity of people and societies in the region.

30th November: UBTIC (Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council) meeting in Tashkent. Attendees can expect high-level participation, including DIT’s General Director, Andrew Mitchell, HMTC Kenan Poleo and Uzbek DPM Jamshid Khodjaev. Alongside this high-level government participation, UBTIC will bring together an impressive roster of senior executives and sector experts for a day of roundtable discussions from both UK and Uzbek businesses. Register here by 25th November.

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