Dear Members and Friends,
Many of you joined us this week for the 2020 British Expertise Awards, and we have been grateful for the positive feedback and engagement we have received since. The occasion certainly brought together an impressive array of companies, presenters and participants to celebrate the very best of UK exports of infrastructure, capacity building and international development at an incredibly challenging time for all of us. In doing so it felt a timely reminder of the skills, expertise and professionalism which characterises British expertise around the world, and the powerful commercial offer our country presents internationally.
Our new media partner Infrastructure Intelligence has written up a comprehensive review of the Awards and the companies who won, and over coming weeks and months we will be further profiling the winning entries. We were particularly grateful for the generous introductions from our Patron His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, and Minister for Africa James Duddridge, but I also want to extend warm thanks to all our speakers. Furthermore, thank you to our sponsors; Cardno Emerging Markets, HR Wallingford, Turner & Townsend, ICF International and Scriptoria, as well as our media partners, Infrastructure Intelligence, Devex, and the GREAT campaign. Finally, special thanks of course to all the team at British Expertise International, and in particular to Alexandra Barnes who led on putting the event together. You can watch the awards again HERE, as well as find out more about the companies and projects involved in our brochure.
We value your feedback and would appreciate a few minutes of your time completing the event survey. We are already in the early stages of planning on how to take the awards forward in 2021. Whatever the circumstances we won’t be returning wholly to the format of past years, and we have a number of major initiatives planned for the second half of next year, including a national infrastructure conference — more on this soon. In the meantime, congratulations again to all the finalists, those highly commended and particularly to the winners of this years’ awards.
Finally; many of you will be aware that the Comprehensive Spending Review has been cancelled for this year with budgets for all government departments rolled over with certain changes for just one year. While this is on some levels understandable in the context of our domestic political and economic uncertainty, it will have negative direct and indirect impacts for many of our members. In particular it will make it harder to tie the upcoming Integrated Review, including international development, defence and other global strategic priorities, to specific resource envelopes. In doing so it will make it harder for departments such as FCDO and DIT to develop confidently articulated and financially backed multi-year strategies around agreed national priorities, including procurement pipelines, which our members and others can plan around over coming months. It does however underscore again the growing importance of those of us outside government working more effectively together to support business export growth and prosperity, and this is an agenda BEI is committed to pursuing with our members and others over coming months and years.
On 27th October, as part of Black History Month, join us for a discussion on Black Leaders in Development. As part of our Diversity and Inclusion focus, we will be hosting a panel of senior black men and women working in the international development sector as they share their career journeys — experiences, challenges and career progression insights.
On 28th October, we have a stellar panel discussion lined up, to explore and share perspectives on the newly formed Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and how it might shape the UK’s New Global Direction. The panel will include Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and previously chair of the International Development Committee, Baroness Kate Fall — a British political advisor who served as Deputy Chief of Staff for David Cameron, Sophia Gaston — Director of the British Foreign Policy Group and Fellow at the London School of Economics and Tom Cargill — CEO of British Expertise International. The panellists will share their perspectives on the merger, the expected or perceived opportunities and also highlight, in their view, some potential challenges that need to be managed to ensure the success of the new department in bringing even greater impact and influence on the world stage.
On 29th October, we are taking a look at Australian Trade & Investment Opportunities. This event will give participants a unique insight into Australia’s business landscape from key government stakeholders. Our panel will include Trade and Investment representatives from Austrade in UK, and each of the states: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Priority sectors for Australia include infrastructure, cybersecurity, defence, rail, mining and more. In 2019, the UK was the second largest direct investor in Australia, reflecting the significant and growing opportunities for doing business.
Future Events Highlights…
On 3rd November, we’re continuing our deep-dive series with a look at Kuwait — A Country of Growing Market Opportunities. Join us, alongside our expert panel including British Ambassador His Excellency Michael Davenport, to discuss the benefits of doing business in Kuwait, answer key questions from members considering developing into Kuwait, and engage with discussion on the current political and economic climate in the country — where key industries include energy, food processing and construction.
On 4th November, BEI turns to Colombia, featuring UK Ambassador His Excellency Colin Martin-Reynolds, for an event Exploring Business Opportunities in Colombia. There are exciting prospects for UK companies doing business in Colombia, which is ranked 2nd in Latin America by the World Bank for ease of doing business.
On 5th November, BEI is delighted to be joined by His Excellency Daniel Pruce, UK Ambassador, for an event on the Philippines and Business Opportunities for UK Plc. There are major opportunities for UK companies doing business in the Philippines particularly in the infrastructure, education and technology sectors. This event will provide country-specific insights focusing on the challenges and opportunities for UK companies operating in the country.
Remember to join our LinkedIn Group!
We are more active than ever on the BEI LinkedIn Group, where we share insights, highlight upcoming events and showcase our members’ latest news and thought leadership. Join the group here.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International