BEI Weekly Update
Oct 28, 2022

BEI Weekly Update — 28th October 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

Three quick, but important, mentions to open with. Ukraine opportunities, new cabinet appointments and an important new colleague arrival in BEI’s parent, Strategy Group.

Ukraine. With substantial, early and impressive involvement from our ID members in humanitarian and emergency response there is understandably a lot of interest across the broader membership, in finding out about what HMG is doing regarding helping UK enterprise engage with the huge range of reconstruction opportunities in Ukraine. BEI is involved but the situation is still ‘work-in-progress’. We hope to be able to convene an event to inform on the range of opportunities, HMG financing support and process, with the appointed leads in a DIT-led contract, Mott MacDonald and Crown Agents, in the near future.

New Cabinet. Regarding the two departments most relevant to International Trade, there is no change at DIT. However, alongside the continuity of Foreign Secretary and of ministers with geographic responsibility, a potentially significant return of Andrew Mitchell to head Development. Given the squeeze on budgets in general and specific on-going pressure on ODA, it’s not yet clear how his arrival, notwithstanding his enthusiasm for International Development, will help the sector turn the corner from a very rough period. Watch this space. BEI will engage. With DIT, it is a welcome case of continuity, albeit with, as yet, no clearly confirmed set of specific priorities beyond the headline constants of continuing to deliver trade deals and working to grow U.K. Trade & Investment; this is simply because the new Secretary of State has only been in post since early September. There have been a couple of speeches, notably recently in New York, re-affirming principles and intent rather than any meaty new specifics.

New colleague — Nick Forbes. I’m delighted to announce that Nick Forbes, one of the leading regional politicians over the last ten years, has joined Strategy International, our parent company as a Senior Advisor. Nick will work across its three areas, including British Expertise. His insights into the shifting political landscape at both national and regional level will be invaluable to our members. Nick was leader of Newcastle City Council for 11 years, during which time he was instrumental in initiating and overseeing a number of transformational regional infrastructure and major inward investment initiatives. He served as Leader of the Labour Group and as Senior Vice Chair of the Local Government Association for 6 years, in which role he was invited by Sir Keir Starmer to attend Shadow Cabinet. Since stepping down as Newcastle’s Leader in May 2022 he has worked closely with the former Conservative Cabinet minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, on issues around social mobility. Nick was appointed CBE in 2019. He is a patron of LGBT+ Labour.

This Wednesday we had the pleasure of launching our Skills and Training Working Group. Our members came together to brainstorm around the current supply and demand of the Skills and Training market and discuss how can we, as a group, can overcome the existing market barriers. It is clearer than ever that global economies are facing large skills gaps and there is a mismatch between supply and demand. Throughout the next year, the Working Group is aiming to bring together education providers and private sector organisations from a range of sectors to develop specialised, more informed, fit-to-market skills and training programmes. Our next session will take place on 23rd November, when we will look more closely at mechanisms of financing such programmes. If you are interested to join our Working Group, please contact Lara Mattaliano at

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

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.

2nd November: Rwanda Education Deep Dive Virtual event 11:00–12:30 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.

2nd November: Meet the Under Secretary of International Relations Division, Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia
In-person roundtable and networking lunch. 12:00–14:30 GMT.
British Expertise International are delighted to host a Delegation from Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education for an in-person roundtable and networking lunch on Wednesday 2nd November from 12:00–14:30 to discuss opportunities and potential partnerships in Higher Education covering skills and Technology.

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.

16th November: Trade Envoy to Panama, Dominican Republic & Costa Rica — Rt. Hon Baroness Hooper CMG.
In person round table at 23 Grafton Street. 14:30 for 15:00–16:30 GMT.
We are delighted to welcome back the Rt. Hon Baroness Hooper CMG for this members-only private round-table event, in-person at our offices in 23 Grafton Street, to give members the opportunity to engage with the Trade Envoy in a closed discussion. Panama is one of the most politically and economically stable economies in the region and with plenty of opportunities in Skills Development, Infrastructure, the Maritime industry and Clean Energy it should be a priority for UK businesses.
Contact to reserve a place.

17th November: BEI Education Working Group with Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP
In person round table at 23 Grafton Street. 16:30 for 17:00–19:00 GMT.
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.

Finally, our sister company, D Contemporary will be running an exhibition from 8th to 25th November entitled ‘Created in Conflict’. This is a solo exhibition of photographic works by Adam Dobby. Formerly a badged member of 22nd Special Air Service who put down the rifle and picked up the camera, Adam brings together haunting visual stories from the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

A portion of all sales will go to support two charities: INARA that provides life-altering medical care for children from conflict areas who have catastrophic injuries or illnesses and are unable to access treatment due to war and The SAS Regimental Association, the only official organisation that represents the Special Air Service Regiment. Details about the Private View will be distributed separately, but please contact Max should you be interested in attending.

Very Best Wishes  

Peter O’Kane
British Expertise International/Strategy International

Longer Term View of Events

22nd November: Doing Business with CABEI
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 GMT.
Join the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) for their first UK market engagement event, following the recent opening of their European office. CABEI’s mission is to promote economic integration and balanced economic and social development of the Central American region (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama and Belize), in sectors including water sanitation, water treatment, urban mobility, health infrastructure, energy and transportation.

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 / recordings

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.

25th October: Extreme Weather and Climate Resilience Roundtable with the CDB
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 BST. We heard from representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank who provided insights into their support needs for extreme weather prediction, mitigation and post event recovery. We were also joined by members of the BEI Climate Change Working Group as we explored synergies and shared knowledge around the leading market solutions and infrastructure developments in these sectors globally. Recording and slides available here.

26th October: Climate Finance — the Development Finance Institutions’ Perspective
Virtual event 15:00–16:30 BST. This session outlined the definitions, focus, plans and priorities of climate finance from the point of view of three Development Finance Institutions (DFIs): EBRD, BII and IFC, who provided their perspective on climate finance. Recording and slides available here.

Upcoming external events

31st October: Making trade work for everyone — how inclusive trade can support development, 15:00–16:00 GMT.
Leading trade policy experts and the Department for International Trade will outline how trade-focused development can be truly inclusive, by protecting underserved groups and promoting greater participation. Ranging from projects supporting women-owned businesses, indigenous populations and people with disability, this session will provide insights on why inclusive trade is crucial to economic development, supports UK businesses, and what the UK government does to support this important mission.

3rd November: ADB Procurement Clinic, 08:00–09:00 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.

14th November: Managing Cross Border Payments Risk and FX in International Development — Roundtable and Drinks Reception. 16:00–19:00
UK Mission, Avenue Louis Casaï 58, Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Swizterland. RSVP: To before 1st November if you would like to attend. The United Kingdom Permanent Mission in Geneva and Crown Agents Bank are delighted to invite Swiss NGO and Foundation treasury and payments professionals to a roundtable discussion and drinks reception exploring the management of cross-border payments and FX in the international development sector.

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.

24th November: Managing FX and cross-border payments risk in international development, 17:15–21:00 at St Boltophs’s Church Hall, City Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3TL. This event will be an evening of conversation and networking, focused on the safe and timely delivery of FX and cross-border payments into hard-to-reach markets with lived case studies. Discussion will cover a range of topics including bank account management, access to cash, investments, safety and controls, financial risks, and technology.

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.

Not a member?

Apply for membership →

Learn more

For more information about British Expertise International:

Read the full reportRead the full article

Continue reading

BEI Weekly Update
Sign up to receive our weekly update, including a full programme of events, every Friday