Dear Members and Friends,
Throughout the week, some details have begun to emerge on the extent of aid programme budget cuts following the ODA allocations statement by the Foreign Secretary. Whilst this process is still ongoing, we believe that it will be important that the FCDO is able to take ownership and manage the communication of these cuts to partner governments and stakeholders alike, as this will help mitigate any potential negative impact on relationships and reputation. We recognise the rationale behind the cuts and, whilst difficult, our members are already working to mitigate their impact and are ready and able to adapt in order to support future UK government aid priorities and focus areas. However, we will press for greater clarity, as the uncertainty on a future pipeline restricts our members’ ability to effectively plan both their businesses and the resources required and, where needed, secure necessary financing support.
This week, our session on Risk Mapping in The Middle East, with Control Risks, a specialist risk mapping consultancy gave a powerful overview of the geo-political situation and the major trends shaping the business environment for the Middle East and North Africa region. This is a region that represents significant opportunity for UK Businesses going forwards, with the requirements the region has to build its infrastructure, rebalance its economies away from a dependence on oil-based income and respond to the challenges of Climate Change. If you were not able to join the session, a copy of the slides and recording are available here for members.
This week, we also kicked off our series of roundtable discussions in our ‘Meet the PM’s Trade Envoy’ series, with Martin Vickers MP, Trade Envoy for the Western Balkans. He gave an excellent summary of the role of a Trade Envoy — promoting UK business overseas, creating links and opening doors. The Western Balkans offers some unique opportunities for UK plc, and although they may be some apprehensions on the ease of doing business, these can be mitigated and the market offers some great return on investment. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Department for International Trade (DIT) teams covering this region as well as the UK Export Finance are all on hand to support UK companies wishing to do business in the region. Participants also shared insights with the Trade Envoy on experiences of doing business in the region and highlighted areas that require government support, including more concerted effort to support SMEs venturing into new markets.
Sadly, we had to postpone the planned session with Mark Menzies MP for Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. We will look to reschedule this as soon as possible. If you are interested in participating in one of the Trade Envoy discussions, please contact our Events Team.
Next week, we are delighted to be hosting Lord Deben for a round table discussion about the UK’s strategy for Carbon Net Zero. Lord Deben has been the Chair of the parliamentary Climate Change Committee since 2012, the body responsible for advising government on setting effective targets, the strategies needed to achieve them and the actions needed to mitigate the effects of climate change in the UK. There are places available to listen in to the discussion as part of the audience, please contact our Events Team if you would like to join.
We are also pleased to be reconvening our session with the Overseas Development Institute on the ‘Leave No One Behind’ (LNOB) report and discuss its findings and any key take aways on Wednesday 5th May. The LNOB agenda seeks to make progress for the poorest groups central to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. This session kicks off a series of events through May focused on international development, which include a discussion on Food Security and the Impact of Covid-19, a presentation by Jonathan Glennie, author of the book The Future of Aid-Global Public Investment, a panel discussion on the future of how we use Data to Guide Development Decisions. For more information, and to register your interest for any of our events, click here.
Finally, on this, the last day in April, I hope you will be able to enjoy a relaxing Bank Holiday weekend with friends and family.
With Best Wishes
Chief Executive Officer
British Expertise International
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Currently all our events are hosted virtually and look forward to exploring hybrid event options as the government eases socialising restrictions. For any event registration support please contact Matthew Gibbons. 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*.
5th May — Leave No One Behind — Concept to Action
6th May — Closed Roundtable Discussion with Trade Envoy Mark Menzies MP (postponed, new date tbc)
6th May — In Conversation with Lord Deben
11th May — Uzbekistan Deep Dive
13th May — Food Security and Covid-19
19th May — Jonathan Glennie on the Future of Aid
20th May — Using Data to Guide Development Decisions
25th May — Doing Business in Indonesia
27th May — Ethiopia Deep Dive
9th June — Doing Business in Pakistan
External News & Events
5th — 6th May — The Department for International Trade is hosting a UK and France Quantum Innovation Exhibition. Register for the exhibition here.
6th May — Our sister organisation, The D Group, are hosting an event on the Bank of England Quarterly Monetary Report with Rob Elder, Agent for Greater London, Bank of England, and how it will affect businesses.
18th May — The British-Kazakh Society is hosting a webinar on ‘Science and Industry in Central Asia — Dynamic degrees: Unpacking Advanced Qualifications and Skills, Pathways for Scientific and Industrial Development’ with lecturer Dr. Miljana Radivojevic from University College London and Dr. Ainur Seitkan from Astana International University.
18th — 19th May –The Department for International Trade and UK Export Finance is holding a supplier fair for the Ministerial City Project Benin, which will provide great opportunities in infrastructure for UK businesses. Please register by 13th May.
8th June — Join SBJBC in an engaging webinar showcasing: Technology and Digital Cooperation Opportunities at NEOM & THE LINE. This virtual workshop hosted by SBJBC will include an update on the project’s concept and progress from Simon Ainslie, Chief Operating Officer at NEOM. Interactive panels will follow on opportunities for innovative UK and Saudi companies to partner on the technology infrastructure required for this visionary project.
13th — 16th July — The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will host an interactive online course on Spatial Analysis in QGIS and R — An Introduction for Environmental Scientists.
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