BEI Weekly Update
Oct 27, 2023

BEI Weekly Update - 27th October 2023

Dear Members and Friends,

Once again, we are at the end of a week full of events at BEI covering an impressively wide range of sectors and geographies. From my meetings with members this week, I know that ambitions go even wider, so as we build next year’s programme we are also continuing to work with our stakeholders to ensure we address all the issues and challenges that matter to you.

On Monday, we were very pleased to be able to host over a whole day colleagues from USAID, who shared with our members insights into the USAID’s Localisation direction as well as Agency-wide targets that Administrator Power announced in November 2021. Attendees also had the opportunity to discuss procurement frameworks, models of evaluation, as well as gaining insight into the procurement resources available by USAID. We look forward to developing further our relationship with USAID.

Another highlight this week was our event to mark the International Day of the Girl and I was particularly delighted to be able to welcome Alicia Herbert OBE, FCDO’s Director of Education, Gender and Equalities and the UK’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality who spoke about the centrality of women and girls to the development agenda and the important role of grassroots organisations. Having heard recently from Shadow International Development Minister Lisa Nandy, who also put girls’ education at the centre of Labour’s thinking, it’s good to see that in a world of political divisions, there are some areas on which there is a clear consensus. In her blog this week, Amalie talks more about the event.

From a geographical perspective, we have travelled from Morocco to Armenia this week (while staying in Grafton Street, of course…). Our deep dive on education in Morocco, led by the Education team from the Department for Business and Trade, gave members the opportunity to see the increasing opportunities in that country, including in teacher training, English learning, higher education, as well as wider education reform programmes funded by the World Bank and USAID. We are scoping the potential for an education-focused trade mission to Morocco; please get in touch with Luisa if you are interested.

Turning to Armenia, we were delighted to welcome over 80 people to Grafton Street for the Armenia Trade and Investment Forum, at which we were joined by HE Mr Vahan Kerobyan, Minister of Economy of Armenia, HE Mr Varuzhan Nersesyan Ambassador of Armenia, Mr Levon Ochanesiyan, Director General of Enterprise Armenia, DBT Minister the Earl of Minto and a number of colleagues. This was an excellent opportunity to hear about a wide range of trade and investment opportunities in a fast-changing country across multiple sectors. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Enterprise Armenia and Alexandra would be interested to hear from members who would like to follow up.

Finally this week, we hosted the initial meeting of the Water Resilience Working Group, with participation from steering group members AtkinsRealis, Climate Sense, WRc and a number of other members. We all know the importance of water as a key factor for development, but also water shortages as a cause of conflict and food insecurity, so exploring practical solutions in this area is a high priority. Please get in touch with Katie if you would like to join this new working group.

Next week looks to be just as varied. The next in our “intersections” series on Tuesday will be looking at climate change and conflict prevention, another case study in the importance of collaboration across traditionally discrete sectors. We look forward to seeing the lessons to come out of this conversation.

Talking of collaboration, it’s very much the watchword in Grafton Street. On Wednesday, the Education Working Group will be looking at the benefits of seeing the UK’s growing and influential international education footprint as a major component of our soft power. How can our expertise in education help promote the UK globally? How can the UK “flag” help the sector? This session will be led by our sister organisation, the British Foreign Policy Group, which acts as the co-conveyor of the UK Soft Power Group.  Find out more here.

Also on Wednesday we will be hosting a “Meet the Development Director” online event with Matt Cannell, who will be talking about the FCDO’s Bangladesh strategy and programme.   

Finally, on Thursday, we will be hosting an online session in conjunction with DBT on “Resolving trade barriers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”. Trade barriers bring challenges for many of our members, but equally finding ways to overcome them can create unexpectedly large new opportunities, so it will be good to see how HMG is tackling the challenge and how Government and business can work together.

Once again, the potential for collaboration to create new opportunities cuts across all our work and I hope that you will continue to find BEI as a place where you can have the conversations that make a difference.

Have a good weekend,

Best Wishes

David Landsman 

Executive Chairman

British Expertise International

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