Dear Members and Friends,
A busy week at BEI, overshadowed by the unfolding events in Ukraine which although not entirely unexpected have been horrifying and shocking. Whilst there were fears of a potential invasion, the scale has been more dramatic than many observers thought likely even a week ago. I know that many of you will have colleagues and partners, friends and family who are directly implicated in the events — we hope all of them remain safe and hope that a speedy resolution can be reached. At this early stage, however, this would appear to be unlikely.
This week, I met with Gareth Nugent, the new Chief Commercial Officer at the FCDO. With a background in commerce, Gareth joined the FCDO recently and brings a wealth of experience in procurement. We had a very positive discussion and covered a wide range of areas of interest to our members and will share some key highlights with our members in a separate note. We agreed to continue to build a constructive relationship and Gareth agreed to join us for a meeting with our members once he has settled into his role.
This week, we were delighted to host a roundtable with the PM’s Trade Envoy to South Africa — Andrew Selous MP. South Africa is a well-established market by regional standards and the main opportunities exist around energy transition, infrastructure as well as financial, business and legal services. As Andrew looks to support UK plc to leverage opportunities, we look forward to working with him alongside DIT and FCDO teams to promote UK exports.
The Infrastructure Exports UK Board Meeting was held on Wednesday this week with a full agenda as Exports Minister and Co-Chair Mike Freer contributed to the discussions. Discussions covered updates on priority markets, insights on the Clean Green Initiative (CGI), Build Back Better World (B3W) as well as the UK Export finance Tool Kit.
Also on Wednesday, BEI and the Pakistani British Business Council met with Mark Eastwood MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan. It was a productive and engaging meeting in which we got to brief Mark on our upcoming Pakistani related events and key market intelligence. It was also great to have Mark provide some insights into his upcoming trip and agreed to continue engagement with members on this increasingly attractive market.
On Thursday, we attended the UK-ASEAN Business Forum which celebrated and showcased the growing trading relationship between the ASEAN Secretariat and UK exporters. Ambassadors and representatives from around the region delivered excellent speeches on the growing challenges and opportunities, in particular the need for climate adaptation and mitigation solutions, e-commerce and digital technology — all of which seeks to improve frictionless trade and builds greater resilience into supply chains.
Looking forwards to the early part of March, on 1st March we will host a roundtable with the our PM’s Trade Envoy to Morocco — Dr Andrew Murrison MP. Morocco has opened up opportunities for British business across Infrastructure and Education. In Infrastructure, Morocco’s relatively strong governance and regulatory frameworks are creating investment opportunities in the future. Coupled with this, Morocco’s transport and infrastructure strategy has included planned new motorways, roads, railways, ports and airport upgrades. Other sectors of interest include energy (both hydrocarbons and renewables), and financial and professional services. Spaces are limited, please contact the Events Team to reserve a place for your organisation.
On March 7th we will be hosting an event to discuss the most recent World Bank 2022 Global Economic Prospects report. World Bank presenters Franziska Ohnsorge, Manager of the Prospects Group in the Equitable Growth, and Dana Vorisek, Senior Economist in the Chief Economist Office will share some insights from the report. This World Bank Group flagship report examines global economic developments and prospects, with a special focus on emerging market and developing economies.
We also look forward to our panel discussion and reception to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8th. We will be joined by a panel which will include Prof Denise Bowers OBE and Clare Southwell, Principal Consultant at PA Consulting and a member of Women In Defence’s Leadership Team. They will share their experiences and some insights on some of the ways in which their industries or sectors are working to attract, retain and progress more female talent.
From March 28th to April 8th, we will be organising a series of events around Vietnam and the Indo-Pacific region. These will coincide with a great exhibition being hosted in our gallery showcasing the work of an extraordinary renowned Vietnamese artist. We will share more details about both the exhibition and the events in the coming weeks.
Given the significance of Soft Power in the UK’s global reputation, I thought members might be interested in seeing this report, written by our sister company The D Group in partnership with Kings College London. The report explores the notion of soft power before examining the current landscape where it relates to space and the goals and ambition of the UK’s National Space Strategy. You can access a copy of the report HERE.
Finally, after such a tumultuous week, it only rests for me to wish all people affected directly or indirectly by the events in Ukraine continuing safety and hope for a rapid resolution.
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*.
1st March — Meet The Trade Envoy to Morocco — Dr Andrew Murrison MP
7th March — BEI Education Working Group
10th March — BEI Infrastructure Working Group
16th March — BEI Climate Change Working Group
16th March — Opportunities for UK Companies in Nigeria
22nd March — Opportunities for UK Companies in Egypt
22nd March — BEI Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group
External News & Events
28th — 31st March — British Embassy in Tashkent is inviting UK companies to attend its flagship event — Uzbek British Trade and Investment Council (UBTIC). This is the official bilateral trade and investment forum convened by the governments of the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. For more details please contact Komila.Khamidova@fcdo.gov.uk.
25th — 29th April — Spatial analysis in QGIS and R — An Introduction for Environmental Scientists. Running over four half-day sessions, this hands-on and interactive online course will give you an introduction to spatial data analysis in an open-source environment. For more information click here and to sign up and pay online click here.
21st -25th March — A market access roadshow will be taking place in the UK. One of the forums will be for UK businesses to address their concerns on barriers they’ve faced doing business in Kenya, and/or while trying to access the Kenyan market. There will also be another forum for B2B networking with Kenyan businesses seeking potential matchmaking opportunities with UK companies. To register, click here.
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