Dear Members and Friends,
Although it has only been a short week, after the May Bank Holiday, I have been struck by some significant, and in some ways contradictory events that have taken place. On the one hand, with the UK well advanced on implementing a strong vaccine initiative, the Bank of England announced that it was raising its growth forecast for the UK Economy from 5% to 7.25% for 2021. This is the fastest growth seen in the UK since the end of World War II, and is a strong lead indicator of the growth that can be seen as economies emerge from their own pandemic.
At the same time, India and many parts of the world continue to struggle with growth in cases. Members of the Indian delegation had to withdraw physically from the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting held in London earlier this week. At that meeting, there was a guarded commitment on behalf of G7 to work with companies to accelerate vaccine production and ensure equitable distribution across the world. It remains the case, it seems, that there is a positive economic outlook, but the pace of recovery will be dependent on effective vaccination programmes being executed globally.
This week, we continued our focus on Climate Change, with a round table discussion with Lord Deben, Chair of the 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. He gave a compelling insight into his experience over the last decade in championing this issue, and commented positively about the level of understanding and commitment being shown by the public and private sectors alike. The message was clear — building sustainability into the business frameworks is not only crucial for post-pandemic recovery, but sustainability results in business longevity; those that fail to adapt to the climate and environment challenges we face will not survive. Whilst this is a stark reminder of the reality of the situation, it also creates opportunities for UK businesses.
This week, in a very timely session, we also heard from the Overseas Development Institute on the ‘Leave No One Behind’ (LNOB) report. This report provided a data-driven insight into ways that countries and their development partners can seek to ensure that aid is focused successfully on ensuring all groups within society benefit from initiatives tackling the Vision 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to the data driven approach, they provided practical suggestions that could be deployed to ensure that no one is left behind. They also reflected on the key issue that the combined effect of the pandemic and the impact of climate change are both likely to have the greatest impact on the most disadvantaged in society. Over the coming week, we will continue to explore these themes in a number of areas. Next week, we explore Food Security and the Impact of Covid-19. In the following weeks, we will continue our focus on education — with a round table discussion on Education Systems & the Covid-19 Recovery. We will also hear from Jonathan Glennie on The Future of Aid, and conduct a panel discussion on how to effectively use Data to Guide Development Decisions. For more information, and to register your interest for any of our events, click here.
Two additional sessions for next week. We will continue our Cental Asia and Transcaucus series with our Uzbekistan Deep Dive. This series has been very successful in highlighting specific areas of opportunity for UK businesses and we have no doubt this session will provide invaluable insights on specific opportunities in infrastructure, engineering, transport and logistics, education, technology and renewables.
And finally, we will be welcoming Sophia Gaston, Director of the British Foreign Policy Group (BFPG). She will provide an update on her recent report ‘The UK’s Foreign Policy Tribes: Understanding Polarisation and Cohesion on International Affairs’. This fascination report provides real insight on the perceptions of the UK population — and is already shaping both the UK political context; understanding these different tribes will be key to the development sector in particular as it seeks to demonstrate and communicate the benefits of the UK’s investment in aid
To find out more about our events programme, visit here, and to enquire about becoming a member of BEI, register your interest here.
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*.
11th May — Uzbekistan Deep Dive
12th May* — The UK’s Foreign Policy Tribes
13th May — Food Security and Covid-19
17th May* — Education Systems & the Covid-19 Recovery
19th May — Closed Roundtable Discussion with Trade Envoy Lord Bates
19th May — Jonathan Glennie on the Future of Aid
19th May — HMTC Jonathan Knott for Latin America and the Caribbean
20th May — Using Data to Guide Development Decisions
25th May — Doing Business in Indonesia
27th May — Ethiopia Deep Dive
27th May — Closed Roundtable Discussion with Trade Envoy Helen Grant MP
9th June — Doing Business in Pakistan
External News & Events
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has established a Mining Hub in Brazil, the world’s first open innovation hub in the mining sector, with 25 mining companies and 13 associated suppliers, opening application for the sixth cycle of its open innovation program, called M-START. Contact Isabela Oliveira for more information.
11th May — The Department for International Trade (DIT) will host a webinar on ‘Opportunities in the Ethiopian Transport and Logistics Sector’ where a pipeline of over 40 transport and logistics opportunities will be presented by the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport.
12th 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.
24th May — The Department for International Trade (DIT) will be hosting a Panel Discussion to learn about Saudi Arabia’s PSP Law and upcoming PPP opportunities.
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.
9th — 10th June — UK Export Finance will be hosting a Supplier Fair: Agricultural Development in Africa for UK exporters, to supply agriculture, livestock, food processing and infrastructure support structures for the various sustainable food production projects across Africa.
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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