Strategy International | Weekly Update - 7th December

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 7th December

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Dear Members & Friends,

Another week of punch-drunk lurching from one Brexit scenario to another. At least there are lots of D Group ties prognosticating from the Commons and floating around the TV studios. (Hopefully lots of ‘D’ pins on our female speakers and members but you need a pause button and a very large screen to spot them).

For what’s it worth I’m chalking up the following odds;
‘Norway’. Evens
No deal. 2-1
Second referendum. 3-1
The current deal. 4-1

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A quick compendium of the week.

BFPG - our associated research group launched a thoughtful piece on the UK’s engagement with Latin America. It was great to see DiT’s impressive new Trade Commissioner, Jo Crellin, contributing to put the case for more active UK ‘inc’ attention to the region.

More regional reviews next year…

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D Group continued its Blockchain series. Toby Lewis of Novum Insights gave a very engaged audience a thought-provoking assessment of where blockchain is likely to make a major effect on business and where it’s over-hyped. It is clear that the sheer breadth of technological change hitting business means blockchain’s is not getting the degree of full-on, proactive attention that it merits.

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BEI supported DAI in hosting two private sector consultation meetings, one in Manchester and one in London, on behalf of DFID’s Trade for Development. The events focused on understanding the key constraints faced by UK based businesses sourcing and buying from developing countries. A report is expected to be shared at the end of the first quarter in 2019.

On Wednesday BEI welcomed Judith Tyson, Research Fellow at Overseas Development Institute (ODI) as she presented on “Private infrastructure finance in developing countries: five challenges, five solutions”. With limited traction on the “Billions to Trillions” in the infrastructure sector, many agreed that; more bankable projects, the need for greater innovation and risk mitigation were key to any further progress.

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BEI’s Central Asian effort goes from strength to strength and we attended the impressive launch for the new Astana International Finance Centre (AIFC). AIFC is a bold initiative to place a major financial centre in this key Central Asian economy, based on UK law overseen by ex-Chief Justice, Lord Woolfe and following best international practice. As we wade through the Brexit-induced gloom about the UK’s stature in the World, this was a timely reminder that its ‘soft power’ strengths (language, law, standards & practices) are keenly sought after in order to attract sustainable international investment and engagement.

Next week see the annual Strategy International reception and we look forward to welcoming friends and members to close out this challenging year, enjoy and renew friendships and look to a great 2019.

Best wishes,

Peter

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 12th December – D Group Dinner
#MeToo – Where do we go from here?
Caroline Noblet, Co-Global Head of Labour and Employment, Squire Patton Boggs (UK)

Tuesday 18th December – BEI Meeting
Opportunities for UK Business in Myanmar (Burma)
Douglas Barnes, Director Burma, Department for International Trade


British Expertise International Awards:

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019
Submission deadline extended to 1st January 2019

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 30th November

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 30th November

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Dear Members and friends,

Even the alarming situation off the coast of Ukraine this week has failed to distract from the Brexit Deal or No Deal dilemma. In hindsight, perhaps picking a result from 15 randomly selected boxes would have been a more productive and, dare I say, a more democratic process! Nevertheless, an air of resignation looms over the outcome of the vote on 11th December which does raise the worrying question of “What do we do next?”. All this uncertainty aside, Strategy International continues to peer over the Brexit fence at the opportunities for UK plc beyond, and here are some of the key takeaways from this week’s programme of events.

On Monday, BEI and BCLP hosted a very informative engagement with a team from the Asian Development Bank. The seminar included an overview of the ADB’s new Strategy 2030, updates on procurement processes and sector specific updates including some pipeline opportunities. Of great interest was the ADB’s scale-up on private sector operations. BEI will be arranging a Mission to ADB Manila in March 2019 for the Business Opportunities Fair and details will follow. Please do register your interest to join the Mission.

On Tuesday we welcomed Ian Stewart, Chief Economist, Deloitte for dinner to discuss whether robots will destroy jobs and increase inequality. A pertinent topic, Ian's remarks were eloquent and based on his experiences working with mass data. Parallels were drawn from times in history where technology has forced a substantive change in the job market. Clearly, the rising tide of automation will affect our future job market and education will play a vital role in preparing us for this, a responsibility that should be shared by all. The debate around the table was stimulating and gave all food for thought on how business may be shaped in the future.

On Wednesday night, a diverse group of companies come together to listen to the CEO of UK Major Ports Group, Tim Morris, share his views on how the UK’s ports can thrive in the future. We discussed a wide range of issues: how to increase capacity, the pros and cons of automation, innovation, road and rail freight development, environmental policy, attracting the right level of human resources. Of course, the dreaded B-word came up a few times too – but the general feeling around the table was not of doom and gloom, but rather of cautious optimism. Ports are real catalysts for job creation, benefitting coastal communities and supporting the economy by bringing in FDI. By staying agile, competitive and entrepreneurial, Britain’s ports can continue to thrive in the years to come.

Even though the festive season is approaching faster than Usain Bolt in a Santa’s outfit, our events schedule shows no sign of letting up. To help you avoid any December double booking, below are the event highlights for the month ahead.

Hope you all have a good weekend and get a chance to relax before the start of the pre-holiday rush.

Best regards,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Wednesday 5th December – BEI Meeting
Private Infrastructure Finance in Developing Countries: five challenges – five solutions
Judith Tyson, Research Fellow, ODI

Wednesday 5th December – D Group Lunch
Blockchain 2018 – The Year in Review. And 2019, The Year Ahead…
Toby Lewis, Founder and CEO, Novum Insights

Thursday 6th December – BEI Meeting
IMPORTS FOR PROSPERITY – UK Business Consultation Event (London)

Wednesday 12th December – D Group Dinner
#MeToo – Where do we go from here?
Caroline Noblet, Co-Global Head of Labour and Employment, Squire Patton Boggs (UK)

Tuesday 18th December – BEI Meeting
Opportunities for UK Business in Myanmar (Burma)
Douglas Barnes, Director Burma, Department for International Trade


British Expertise International Awards:

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019
Submission deadline extended to 1st January 2019

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 23rd November

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 23rd November

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Dear Members and Friends,

Another interesting week in Brexit Britain. The PM returned from Brussels with a deal on the table, and it seems that even though there is a great deal of grumbling from both leavers and remainders, there is little time for alternatives without triggering a “no-deal” Brexit – or is there? As we wait for more developments, the truth is the public are fed up and just want to get on with it, as the PM said, “the British people want this settled.”

The streets of London have been busier than usual this week, with the ever-increasing festive season shoppers and the thousands of protesters drawing attention to the unfolding climate emergency. The protestors planned a campaign of peaceful mass civil disobedience apparently with support from almost 100 senior academics from across the UK, including the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Whilst there have been delays in commutes, it’s business as usual.

UK cross-government funds play a vital role in promoting economic development as well as projecting UK influence. On Tuesday BEI hosted Joint Funds Unit Director Joelle Jenny and Head of Prosperity Fund, Daniel Davis, as they shared the work and delivery of UK cross-government funds and how UK-plc can more effectively engage. It appears post-Brexit many more UK government departments will look to accessing ODA funding for a wide range of programmes and many of our members are well placed to explore these opportunities.

On Wednesday, D Group members were treated to an energising discussion with Digital Catapult CEO, Jeremy Silver on the topical subject, “Internet of Things (IoT)”. The discussion covered how early adoption of IoT technology by UK plc can help position organisations ahead of the curve. IoT has wide-ranging applications, and while we may be more familiar with connected consumer devices, the technology is now also being applied to a variety of industrial operations. Whilst many companies tend to be risk averse when it comes to adopting new tech, the potential of IoT technology is such that organisations can benefit greatly by making it part of their long-term vision and changing organisational culture.

ICAI Commissioner Tina Fahm and ICAI Review Team Leader Ian McPherson on Thursday shared details of the review on ‘Achieving value for money through procurement Part 2: DFID’s approach to value for money through tendering and contract management’. Whilst acknowledging DFID’s improvement in their overall approach to procurement, it came as no surprise to members that there were some major concerns highlighted on DFID’s engagement with its stakeholders. A clear need to improve consultation processes with market suppliers, along with a better system of manging information systems and adopting appropriate contract management techniques were identified.

Next week’s event highlights include: the ADB Business Opportunities Seminar on Monday next week co-hosted by BEI and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP). On Tuesday, Ian Stewart, a Partner and Chief Economist at Deloitte will join the D Group for what should be a thought-provoking topic, “Will robots destroy jobs and increase inequality?” and finally on Wednesday Tim Morris, Chief Executive Officer, UK Major Ports Group will share his view on “How Britain's Ports can thrive in the future”

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,

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Derrick Sanyahumbi, Director, Government - Prosperity and International Development


Event highlights:

Tuesday 27th November – D Group Dinner
Will robots destroy jobs and increase inequality?
Ian Stewart, Chief UK Economist, Deloitte

Tuesday 4th December – D Group Lunch
Immigration is an economic necessity and we urgently need honest political leadership
James Kirkup, Director, The Social Market Foundation

Wednesday 5th December - BEI Meeting
Infrastructure Finance – Challenges and Solutions
Judith Tyson, Research Fellow, ODI

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019
Submission deadline extended to 1st January 2019

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 16th November

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 16th November

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Dear Members and friends,

As I write, those in this group who have not resigned are mulling over a five hundred page document which, according to your point of view, either, at last, breaks the endless circle of hell we’ve been living in with a workable compromise that pragmatically faces up to realities, delivering on most of the ‘leave’ requirements, or is an unacceptable fudge which places a fig leaf over vassalage to the EU and a failure to honour the biggest democratic vote in the UK’s history. We now move into three weeks of parliamentary manoeuvring. And, in any case, this is just a blueprint for the future UK/EU relationship. The trade deal has to be negotiated before any claims of ‘frictionless trade’ can be made.

We will schedule a meaty early January event on what no-deal or any deal that gets through Parliament means, in detail, for members’ concerns around supply chains, immigration, tax and contracts.

It was not a huge surprise that (the now former) Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey cancelled her Thursday session with us.

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The redoubtable and hugely informed BBC security correspondent, Frank Gardner, visited Grafton St on Tuesday to speak to British Expertise International’s Middle East group. Frank was paralysed after being repeatedly shot in 2004 by a terrorist in Saudi Arabia and his resolution to not just continue his journalistic career but to take it to considerable heights is an achievement he wears very modestly. Frank shared his thoughts and in-depth knowledge of many of the geopolitical issues that facing the Middle East, including how damaging the Jamal Khashoggi affair may have been to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and MBS himself, the conflicts in Yemen and Syria – resolution and prospects for peace, Qatar’s position in the GCC, the US – Iran future relationship and much more. We very rarely hear such clear and candid analysis.

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This week our first Future Group Cohort in its current format completed its final module at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. The main exercise saw the cohort, acting as a Board, being put through its paces in a business setting. They had to consider the impact of their decisions on Company Reputation, Share Value, Winning New Business, Morale, Retention of staff… the list goes on. There were some very broad discussions, and the cohort of 2018 really bonded and were an excellent team. We wish them all the best and success in their future careers.

No sooner had this Course finished, we found ourselves welcoming the next Course that started yesterday! This unique, cross-sector programme for those designated by their CEOs as future potential top leaders now moves from its pilot stage to its first two cohorts of ten participants. Alongside a challenging ten-month programme which deepens key skills and forges lifelong bonds, it is good to see Civil Service fast-trackers participating.

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Melanie Robinson, UK Executive Director to the World Bank was guest of honour at a BEI lunch this week. Melanie spoke frankly to members and guests about the focus, investment in human capital, and building resilience in some of the poorest nations of the world, via the largest IFI in the world. With a budget of $75BN this year, heading to $100BN in the near future the World Bank is a key provider of finance for meeting the SDGs adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015.

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Next week we have excellent events on the Internet of Things and on HMG explaining its cross- government approach to the deployment of the Prosperity fund.

Have a good weekend.

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 21st November – D Group Lunch
Putting the I into IOT, opportunities for industry through early adoption
Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, The Digital Catapult

Thursday 22nd November –BEI Meeting
ICAI – Achieving value for money through procurement Part 2
Tina Fahm, ICAI Commissioner

Wednesday 28th November – D Group Dinner
How Britain’s Ports can thrive in the future
Tim Morris, Chief Executive Officer, UK Major Ports Group

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 9th November

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 9th November

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Dear Members and friends,

What a glorious week this has been. The Home Rugby Internationals have started in earnest and some of the team at 23 Grafton St. have been seen waxing their skis. The D Group bees are hibernating, but we have enough honey to last the Winter. I have also been to two memorable events to commemorate the end of the Great War. The first was Beyond the Deepening Shadow at the Tower of London. The ceremony and thousands of individual flames in the moat to mark the fallen were very moving and made one realise how much a generation had given up to secure our freedom. The second was the Opening Ceremony of the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey. There were thousands of serving and old soldiers present and Prince Harry spoke to as many people has he could. Standing there to attention in the silence, the thought crossed my mind that we as a country have moved from a culture of service to a culture of me. This can not be good for a Nation.

Monday 5 November, Nigerian Ambassador.
On Monday, British Expertise International hosted H.E. Catriona Laing CB, High Commissioner-Designate to Nigeria for a Roundtable Discussion. Catriona will take up her new role in the coming weeks and welcomed advice and experiences of doing business in Nigeria from both British and Nigerian business representatives present at the meeting. With a wide range of opportunities for UK plc, it was suggested that perhaps the UK Government engagement should shift focus from national to regional level. Quality and credible education and skills development to promote entrepreneurship were identified as key areas to enhance Nigeria’s long term economic development aspirations.

Tuesday 6 November, Sudan Ambassador.
British Expertise International was delighted to welcome H.E. Irfan Siddiq OBE, UK Ambassador to Sudan on Tuesday as he presented a most informed and honest update on the current socio-economic and political landscape in Sudan. A key take away from the meeting was that whilst Sudan presented a range of opportunities for UK plc, the environment is currently not conducive to investing but UK plc should start positioning themselves and be ready when the time is right.

Tuesday 6 November, Lord David Willetts, The Resolution Foundation.
Lord Willetts spoke on education and the rising questions of intergenerational fairness. There was a very wide-ranging debate covering the salaries of 30-year olds that are on average earning less than they would have been 10-15 years ago. We also discussed the horizontal and vertical family, with a reliance on grandparents looking after grandchildren and the big issue of affordable housing. Education is key to the success of the United Kingdom. We now live in a country that has never been as connected electronically, however nor as socially divided.

Wednesday 7 November, Transforming Business Models with Blockchain. Andrew Wheen, Principal Communications Consultant, Mott Macdonald.
Andrew was on excellent form and made a complex subject simple. As we all know, Blockchain has been around for 10 years and is now creating real opportunities for Companies that are prepared to implement it. There are three key characteristics: multi-party collaboration, a shared database and a trusted intermediary. Applications are advancing on a daily basis, and there was a stimulating debate covering both the upsides and downsides. We have another event on the 5 December when Hayden Jones, Founder and Managing Director of Blockchain Hub, will be reviewing the most important Blockchain developments over the course of 2018 as well as horizon scanning the potential step changes in the technology for 2019 and beyond. Please visit our website to book your place and avoid missing out on what should be a fascinating and thought-provoking event.

Thursday 8 November, Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business.
Brexit uncertainty calls out for clear leadership that can find the positives amidst the gloom. London’s Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, demonstrated this aplenty when he visited this Thursday. His story is a tribute to the very best side of immigration and a reminder that social mobility still thrives. It’s a journey that started with his arriving from India with just £200 to his name, then building a hugely successful foreign exchange business, and now being Deputy Mayor of what he relentlessly reminded us, backed up with persuasive hard data, is the best city in the world. A firm remainer, unashamedly pro enterprise, convinced that London must reach out to major cities across the UK and the world, he was a breath of fresh air for the various businesses and foreign embassies present.

This has been a quite outstanding week for many reasons and as I left the office this evening, I noted that the Christmas lights were on in Bond Street! Have a wonderful weekend.

As ever,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event highlights:

Tuesday 13th November – MEAG Reception
Frank Gardner OBE, BBC Security Correspondent – Middle East Access Group Networking Reception
Frank Gardner OBE, BBC Security Correspondent

Wednesday 21st November – D Group Lunch
Putting the I into IOT, opportunities for industry through early adoption
Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, The Digital Catapult

Monday 26th November – External BEI Meeting
ADB Business Opportunities Seminar
Samantha Hung (ADB ERO Frankfurt), Robert Guild (ADB Manila), Kevin Moore (ADB Manila)

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 2nd November

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 2nd November

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Members & Friends hello,

Remember, Remember – the 5th of November! Final call and closing date for the British International Awards 2019 entries. The ten categories have been designed to be inclusive of the wide range of sectors and disciplines our members cover and the online application form is simple and easy. If you have any questions, please call/email Melina or me as soon as you can. Thank you to those that have submitted already and good luck to all.

Grafton Street has been busy this week with a number of very well attended events. While conversation and debate continues to reference Brexit, we have had something of a break from the monopolisation of late.

The Middle East Access Group (MEAG) held a lunch with HE Mr Sulaiman Hamid Almazoui, Ambassador from UAE on Tuesday. HE was on great form and talked us through the wonderful opportunities in the UAE – the tallest building, wonderful weather, the Louvres and the beach. Where else can you find this in such a confined area? There are 440 flights a week from the UK to UAE and there were 25 million visitors in the last 6 months. There is also a Regional market of 2 billion people. He said that there is a great partnership with the UK and plans to grow the trade from £17.5 Billion to £25 Billion by 2020. The bottom line is that the UAE is open for business and we are here to assist.

On Wednesday, we hosted an engaging discussion with Nick Dyer, DFID’s Director General for Economic Development & International and Acting Director General, Policy, Research & Humanitarian. In line with DFID’s current narrative on UK PLC’s role in development, Nick provided some insights into DFID’s future thinking and direction. The discussion centred around how UK plc can leverage development funding to close the SDGs funding gap and deliver development to meet the SDG targets. A key takeaway from the lively discussion was that development cannot happen without the private sector, and what’s required is understanding how to unlock UK plc capabilities to deliver development.

Yesterday during an unusually heavy rainfall Anne Milton, Minister of State for Skills and Apprenticeships visited us. She led a refreshingly open, honest discussion followed by a Q&A session that left the audience feeling very positive about the future of UK’s Apprenticeship programme. Anne Milton emphasised the government’s commitment to boosting productivity by investing in human capital and as part of this, increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships and business engagement with FE colleges.

Please keep those entries coming in and have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

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Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 7th November – D Group Dinner
Transforming business models with Blockchain
Andrew Wheen, Principal Communications Consultant, Mott Macdonald

Tuesday 13th November – MEAG Reception
Middle East Access Group Networking Reception
Franck Gardner OBE, BBC Security Correspondent

Thursday 15th November – D Group Lunch
Improving the living standards of the poorest and most disadvantaged in society – the Conservative strategy
The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 26th October

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 26th October

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Dear Members and friends,

On the back of last weeks (non)gotiations in Brussels perhaps some green shoots are now emerging, but I fear we’re still someway off the “rosy garden” just yet!

Nevertheless, Strategy International continues to look over the horizon and beyond Europe to new and exciting markets and opportunities for our members. This week’s instalment of events was no exception as we focused on what Latin America and the Caribbean have to offer UK plc and debated the challenges of Artificial Intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

On Monday, BEI CEO Tracey Smith attended the Oman – Open for Business Seminar, which included H.E. Sayyidd Badr Bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sultanate of Oman, The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, UK Minister of State for International Development and Minister of State for the Middle East at the FCO and DIT, and H.E. Hamish Cowell, UK Ambassador to Oman. The event highlighted the advantages of location, a safe business environment and many opportunities Oman offers to UK plc, particularly with reference to the development of the Duqm Port region.

On Wednesday we were delighted to host Jo Crellin, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean (LATAC) along with her team for a lunch discussion on opportunities for UK plc in the region and how her department can support UK business. The resounding message was that the LATAC region has exceptional opportunities that UK business can pursue and though there may be some challenges these are not insurmountable. Furthermore, the Department for International Trade is making a concerted effort to enhance awareness of LATAC opportunities for the benefit of UK plc.

Thursday evening was a memorable, thought provoking and exciting discussion with Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford on the Challenges of Artificial Intelligence. AI has been around since 1956 and “Today’s AI is Tomorrow’s Political Science.” There was an interesting debate concerning sovereign AI, with China intending to invest $140 Billion by 2030. Europe is also investing heavily but increasingly ethics, privacy and data control is becoming a topic of conversation. There is strong competition for young talent in this area and students leaving university can start on a salary of £85k!

Sir Nigel thought that we would not see a mass reduction in jobs and there would always be a role for human beings where emotional intelligence was involved. He recently co-authored “The Digital Ape” which dispels confusion and misconception and is a must-read for those interested in our future with smart machines.

Looking at the month ahead, November has a jam-packed calendar, so I have picked out of few event highlights for your diaries. Spaces are filling up so please do register now to avoid any disappointment.

1st November - The Rt Hon Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

5th November - HE Catriona Lang, High Commissioner to Nigeria

6th November - MEAG Reception with Frank Gardner OBE

8th November - Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor, Business

21st November - Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, The Digital Catapult

All it leaves me to say is to wish you all a great weekend and for those who have been able to take some leave, enjoy half term and some well-earned time with the family.

Warm Regards,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 30th October – BEI Lunch
Lunch with HE Mr Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates
HE Mr Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates

Thursday 1st November – D Group Lunch
Apprenticeships and Skills
The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, Department for Education

Monday 5th November – BEI Meeting (15:00)
HE Catriona Laing CB, High Commissioner-Designate to Nigeria – Roundtable Discussion
HE Catriona Laing CB, High Commissioner-Designate to Nigeria

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 19th October

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 19th October

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Dear Members and friends,

A busy week in the latest instalment of ‘Carry on Brexit’. Difficult to know whether to laugh or cry. My cabbie to the Commons, I suspect, spoke for many when he said ‘just get on with it‘ (I have deleted the various expletives from the original version).

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To more positive matters. Life goes on, the UK will continue to produce some of the most outstanding technologies and business propositions and we are here to support and promote them. In that vein, welcome to two new members: Tokamak and Ascendal. Tokamak is backed by some of our leading business brains and is at the forefront of the race to achieve fusion (for those with Physics GCSE grade Z, like me, that’s the small matter of replicating the perpetually renewing heat of the sun – or 27 million degrees Fahrenheit – in a confined space). Ascendal is not challenging the boundaries of physics but, with its founder’s success in the UK and Asian transport sector, is determined to achieve something we can all relate to in the here and now; reshape how public transport is financed and awarded so as to deliver value for money and sustainable competition for taxpayers.

Next, Liverpool was the venue for this week’s D Group regional trip and a meeting for members with Joe Anderson, the city’s Mayor. Despite considerable cuts since 2012, the scale of the challenge facing the council is daunting, but Joe’s entrepreneurial spirit remains undiminished. Whether in tackling the city’s inequalities through home ownership schemes and new build schools, or further opening ‘Brand Liverpool’ to the world by building a new cruise liner terminal, Joe’s talk showed what can be achieved with a mindset that encourages business to grow in a way that benefits the whole region.

Next stop, Leeds.

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On Tuesday BEI hosted a discussion panel on the ever-increasing need for local content in international projects. Governments in emerging economies see this as an imperative to developing and enhancing local capacity and skills. Whilst, at times, there may be issues to contend with, all agreed local content makes good business sense.

The Wednesday visit of Labour’s impressive chair of the BEIS parliamentary committee, Rachael Reeves, to follow earlier visits of BEIS Sec of State, Greg Clarke and Perm Sec, Alex Chisholm, fell victim to the whips and Brexit debate and votes. However, we were able to welcome Professor of American History at Cambridge, Gary Gerstle, to discuss America’s standing as a global leader. The UK’s history as an Atlanticist, as much as a European, nation makes this a profoundly important matter to assess and forecast right now. Gary’s assessment is that we have moved out of the era of ‘Pax Americana’ and into an increasingly unstable, unpredictable world where four or five nations will compete to play a similarly dominant role. Whilst American values may have been diminished in this administration, its interests may in fact have benefited from Trump’s brinkmanship – an unpopular opinion perhaps, but one well worth keeping in mind.

The day before also saw an IMF briefing to the membership on the state of the Saudi economy. Another key challenge for those ‘American values’ and the UK.

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Our friends at the Algerian British Business Council had their annual dinner at The House of Lords. Olga Maitland is indefatigable in promoting UK/Algerian relations and bilateral trade. It’s often assumed that the French have a natural commercial advantage in North Africa. It was clear from the evening that it’s an assumption that should not go unchallenged and British expertise is warmly welcomed.

Next week has a full menu. Sir Nigel Shadbolt on the challenges to business and society of AI; the new HM Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jo Crellin, discussing her role and opportunities (this week we met Richard Burn, Jo Crellin’s Trade Commissioner colleague for China) and a BEI joint seminar with Omani Government representatives, on the outlook for opportunities in the Sultanate for UK companies.

All of us here wish you a relaxing weekend.

With best wishes,

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Tuesday 24th October – BEI Lunch
What Latin America has to offer UK Business
Jo Crellin, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner and Sao Paulo Consul-General

Thursday 25th October – D Group Dinner
Artificial Intelligence – the challenge for business
Sir Nigel Shadbolt FRS FREng, Principal, Jesus College, Oxford

Thursday 1st November – BEI Meeting
UK Cross-Government Funds – Strategy & Delivery
Joelle Jenny, Director, Joint Funds Unit, Cross-Government Funds

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 12th October

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 12th October

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Dear Members and friends,

What a glorious week UK weather-wise but yet more hurricanes and typhoons are expected around the world. On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The findings call for urgent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society with the current 1°C rise effects being seen in more extreme weather.

Next week, Wednesday 17 October, BEI Member Mott MacDonald’s Ian Allison, Global Head Climate Resilience shares their views from a report titled Climate Change: Under 2°C - Mission Possible and sets out a timeline which identifies the likely major milestones along the route to achieving the historic Paris Agreement, the goal of which is to slow and ultimately halt progressive climate change.

Tuesday 9 October – ERBD Infrastructure and Procurement
On Tuesday, we hosted Jan Jackholt, Director for Procurement and Haytham Eissa, Principle Banker both from EBRD. With a triple A rating and a capital budget of 30bn Euro EBRD is a major player in supporting businesses and economies through financial investment, business services and involvement in high-level policy reform. The session provided an overview of EBRD priorities in the transport sector, with a focus on four key areas: green economy and sustainable transport, private sector participation, public private partnerships and regional connectivity.

Tuesday 9 October – Alia Moubayed, BEI Middle East Group
This was our first BEI MENA Evening Networking Reception and with over 50 people attending it was a great success. We have set up this Group as a result of demand from former Middle East Association Members and many of our own Members who operate in MENA. We will be running 11 receptions a year, with a speaker, complimentary to all D and BEI Members, and open for individuals who only wish to access this series at a fee of £1000 for a year. Thereafter membership of BEI will apply or single events can be accessed on a non-member rate of per event. Our next event is on the 6th November.

Alia Moubayed gave us a wide-ranging overview of the whole region. Although the rising price of oil has at last produced surpluses across the region, there are still six countries that have IMF Programmes (Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Iraq, Bahrain and the Lebanon). She concluded by drawing to our attention the demography of the region. There has been huge population growth in both Egypt and Iraq and there will be an additional 25 million young people requiring jobs in the near future, a serious challenge for governments across the region.

Wednesday 10 October – DIFID’s Europe Department
The complexities of Brexit were laid bare at a meeting with DFID’s Europe Department on Wednesday as they presented on “Delivering Humanitarian Aid Programmes if there's no Brexit deal”. DFID has set out an offer to enable UK humanitarian aid organisations to continue bidding for funding from the core budget of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) until March 2019, without undertaking unmanageable financial and programmatic risk.

Thursday 11 October – Sir Mick Davis, Chief Executive and Treasurer, Conservative Party
Sir Mick’s subject was “Fighting the Corner for Free Enterprise”. His presentation was a tour de force and inspirational. The perception is that capitalism is in crisis and if we are not careful we might inadvertently create a segway to Populism and Marxism. A 2017 poll result showed that 43% equated capitalism with greed and there was growing support for the renationalisation of utilities, the railways and even car manufacturing. It’s clear that politicians and business must use the right language when talking about business and the Prime Minister’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference set a clear tone:

“The people in this hall who have started their own businesses will know how thrilling it is to take a risk and start something new. But offering someone a job - creating opportunity for other people - is one of the most socially-responsible things you can do. It is an act of public service as noble as any other.”

Austerity has been the grievance of many people, and so it was very encouraging to hear the Prime Minister use her speech to announce its end. The poor have suffered and the seemingly the wealthy have prospered. We must address this, get through Brexit, make profit and create social good.

BEI Awards 2019 – Remember, Remember...
Please note that the deadline for entries for the BEI Awards to be submitted is 5th November – though we will be offering an extension for late submissions with an additional fee.

This has been a very busy but exciting and stimulating week. Have a relaxing weekend.

As ever,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event highlights:

Tuesday 16th October – D Group Lunch
Lunch with Rachel Reeves MP
Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Wednesday 17th October – SBJBC/BEI Meeting
IMF briefing on Saudi economy
Tim Callen, Assistant Director, IMF

Thursday 18th October – D Group Dinner
America’s voice as a global leader; enhanced or diminished?
Professor Gary L Gerstle FBA, Paul Mellon Professor of American History

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 5th October

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 5th October

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Dear Members and Friends,

Another jam packed and wide-ranging week of events, tackling themes from the UK-Middle East Exchange, the future of the energy sector and DFID’s digital strategy.

On Tuesday, we welcomed Mohamed 'Ed' Husain from The Wilson Centre in New York. Having recently published his latest book, The House of Islam, Ed gave much food for thought where the UK can step up its game in the Middle East. He gave five areas in particular in which there is a perceived bond between the UK and the region. The Middle East faces many challenges of modernising its society in a smooth process but this of course has not gone without incident. Drawing upon famous past thinkers on politics, monarchy and economics, Ed gave his refreshingly honest views on the UK-Middle East exchange.

One of The D Group's more scientifically challenging events, dinner on Wednesday evening with Dr David Kingham, Executive Vice Chairman, Tokamak Energy, was stimulating as we caught a glimpse of the potential future of energy. David delivered his remarks with passion for the project which will be a beacon of UK expertise in developing this highly sophisticated technology with the potential for boundless low carbon energy. Not without its challenges, it was refreshing to learn of implications of fusion energy and how the UK in particular is a world leader. Even those with basic GSCE physics could see the vast potential of this technology.

On Thursday, the BEI calendar featured two well-attended events: an overview of DFID’s Digital Strategy with Frances Sibbet, DFID's Digital Service Lead, and a CATBIG event on Kazakhstan with the UK’s new Ambassador there, HE Mike Gifford.

Our SoS for International Development, Penny Mordant, is passionate about digital technology – and this is reflected in DFID’s strategy as a whole. Digital technology has the opportunity to transform lives, accelerate progress and stimulate growth. Frances Sibbet spoke about the importance of imbedding good practice and ensuring new digital technology is accessible to all, especially those most marginalised. Her presentation drew upon a number of examples to demonstrate effective use of digital as part of sustainable development, for instance the use of iris-based biometric technology in the recent Somaliland elections. Frances drew our attention to the importance of involving the end user throughout the design process and suggested that members might benefit from reviewing the digital Service Manual. DFID itself is currently building a new supplier portal, and we look forward to updating our members on it in the coming months.

HE Mike Gifford, HMA Kazakhstan, shared his impressions of the country having been Ambassador there since January 2018. A country with the highest growth of GDP per capita of FSU countries, Kazakhstan benefits from enormous mineral wealth. In addition, it has some of the largest extractive reserves and is home to the world’s largest oil project ($37bn) on the Tengiz field. The country’s president, however, realises the importance of not entirely relying on these resources, and we have seen a real focus on diversification of the economy and digitalisation. Another important recent development is the launch of the independent arbitration court at the Astana International Financial Centre. It’s based on the British model, practices English common law, and their judiciary’s decision is final and absolute. The population’s average age is 30, with English widely spoken among young professionals, and the education system going through promising reform. These are all great reasons for UK business to enter the market.

The weeks ahead promise some interesting events, next Wednesday DFID Europe Department’s Deputy Director Chris Carter and Policy Analyst, Clara Strandhoj, will be addressing BEI members on "Delivering humanitarian aid programmes if there's no Brexit deal" and offering guidance on how to continue bidding for EU funding, should we fail to reach a Brexit deal. We are also delighted to be welcoming Professor Gary Gerstle, currently Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, who will be leading D Group members in a discussion around "America’s voice as a global leader; enhanced or diminished?", and how the results from Novembers mid-terms could continue that tone for another 2 years.

For a full list of all events coming up please head to our website.

Have a wonderful weekend!

With Best Wishes,

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Derrick Sanyahumbi, Director, Government - Prosperity and International Development


Event highlights:

Tuesday 9th October – BEI Networking Reception
Middle East Access Group Networking Reception

Wednesday 10th October – BEI Meeting
Delivering humanitarian aid programmes if there’s no Brexit deal
Chris Carter, Deputy Director & Clara Strandhoj, Policy Analyst, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Thursday 11th October – D Group Lunch
Fighting the corner for free enterprise
Sir Mick Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Conservative Party

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 28th September

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 28th September

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Dear Members and friends,

Some of you may know that I have been lucky enough to take extended leave this summer and this is my first week back. While catching up, I’ve realised how fabulous the team here is and what a ‘can do’ attitude they have, that the things you expect to change invariably don’t and Brexit is still undecided in terms of deal or no deal!

The meeting held yesterday morning, the first post-Summer meeting of D Group’s 2018 series of CEO discussions around key aspects of being ‘Brexit- ready’, considered this very topic. Just weeks after the challenges thrown up by Salzburg welcoming HMRC’s impressive CEO, Jon Thompson couldn’t have been timelier and we were very grateful for his clear fact-based exposition of the challenges. A mix of leading UK and FDI manufacturing and services companies discussed their issues. Jon has clearly carried over into HMRC the effective management skills he evidenced as Perm Sec MoD. It’s ready as anyone can be for whatever version of Brexit emerges.

The forward programme is awash with events well into 2019 and if you haven’t yet looked at what’s coming up please do. With my BEI focussed hat on, the next couple of weeks are particularly busy with a DFID meeting on ‘Doing Development in a Digital World’, a session on Infrastructure Procurement for EBRD and an interesting member-delivered event on ‘Climate Change: Under 2% - Mission Possible’. Ian Allison, Global Head Climate Resilience will share Mott MacDonald’s recently published report which details the ‘achievable’ steps needed to reach a sub-2°C future by 2050. 

This week, D Group member Atos published the latest offering in their Digital Vision series, this time focused on Farming. The paper examines how new digital tools can be implemented to benefit crop husbandry and animal health, improve the efficiency and transparency of supply chains and minimise disruption from inspections, leading to improved competitiveness and better outcomes for farmers, consumers and the environment. Use this link to read.

One further event to highlight in the calendar is the new Middle East Access Group Networking Reception on Tuesday 9 October. This new initiative will build on our MENA portfolio events with a monthly session including speaker and networking. Our first guest will be Alia Moubayed, former Director of Geo-economics and Strategy at IISS. Alia specialises in macroeconomic and trade policy, the economics of the Middle East and the political economy of resource-rich countries, as well as trade negotiations. We are lucky to have her as our first speaker. If you would like to attend please register online or contact Kassy Liu.

A full listing of events is available on the website.

I look forward to catching up with you all soon.

With best wishes,


Tracey

Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International


Event highlights:

Tuesday 2nd October – D Group Lunch
How can the UK up its game in the Middle East?
Ed Husain, Global Fellow – Middle East Program, The Wilson Centre & Author of The House of Islam

Thursday 4th October – CATBIG Meeting
CATBIG Kazakhstan: meet the British Ambassador
H.E. Mike Gifford, British Ambassador to Kazakhstan

Tuesday 9th October – BEI Meeting
EBRD Infrastructure & Procurement – Working and Delivering on Projects
Sue Barrett, Director for Transport & Jan Jackholt, Director for Procurement, European Bank for Reconstruction & Development

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 21st September

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 21st September

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Dear Members and friends,

Picking up the baton from last week’s newsletter, I am delighted to introduce six new members into the Strategy International network. From rail and telecommunications to technology and temporary power, they perfectly reflect the type of industry diversity that makes our network so valuable. Whilst the injection of new faces and expertise is much needed to sustain any proprietary corporate network, it is also rewarding to see some former members returning to the fold. I am sure you will join me in welcoming each of these companies to the membership. We look forward to getting to know them all over the course of the year and beyond.

Aggreko
Aggreko are global leaders in temporary power, heating and cooling, and from urban development to unique commercial projects and even humanitarian emergencies, they bring their expertise and equipment to any location, from the world’s busiest cities to some of the most remote places on earth.

Eversholt Rail Group
Eversholt Rail have over 20 years of experience in through–life rolling stock asset and project management, owning approximately one quarter of the UK’s passenger rolling stock market. Benefitting from established strategic relationships throughout the rail industry, Eversholt Rail are able to secure value for money and quality on behalf of its customers as well as offering tailored solutions to meet their specific needs and preferences.

Navigant
Navigant is a specialised, global professional services firm. Teams apply experience, foresight, and industry expertise to pinpoint emerging opportunities to help build, manage, and protect the business value of the clients they serve.

Rapid Solutions
Rapid Solutions is an innovative engineering business focused on delivering outstanding solutions within the Oil and Gas, Industrial, Commercial, Marine and Telecoms Sectors. They are a leading provider of electrical and instrumentation services, building services, hydraulic and valve repair and maintenance services, motor rewind, repair and maintenance services, IT, telecommunications and marine services and engineering design solutions.

T-Systems
T-Systems in the UK delivers cloud, digital and network services to companies in a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, transport and logistics, fast moving consumer goods, oil and gas, utilities, as well as to public institutions. With offices in over 20 countries and global delivery capability, the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary provides support to major companies in all industries. It has more than 50,000 employees who combine expertise with ICT innovations to add significant value to customers’ core business all over the world.

Vodafone
Vodafone UK is a provider of telecommunications services in the United Kingdom, and a part of the Vodafone Group, the world's largest telecommunications company with more than 500 million customers in over 30 countries around the world.

Business has very much returned to normal here at Strategy International, with a couple of events this week on two diverse but equally significant topics. On Tuesday, the UK Export Finance team shared insights into the various opportunities available to UK plc to access financial support, ensuring that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer. With some £50bn allocated to UKEF to enable it to support UK companies finance overseas projects and operations, it is surprising that many companies have not yet explored or taken up this offer: if you would like to know more, the UKEF team are well known to British Expertise and we would be delighted to support your engagement with them.

On Wednesday, BEI hosted a consultation workshop ahead of the DFID summit on Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment planned for October this year. The summit, focusing on four strategic shifts, aims to see commitment from development aid stakeholders to a set of actions which would ensure sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment from occurring and respond appropriately when it does.

Our events programme is of course of paramount importance to what we do here at 23 Grafton Street, both as a means of member engagement and in creating an environment for candid, positive conversation between you, our members, and your key stakeholders. However, as we move closer to Brexit D-Day, it is inevitable that we will see some cancellations, especially from speakers representing HMG. One of the advantages of our new, extended programme is that we are now able to plan contingency for this: we will endeavour to ensure that for these ‘high-risk’ names we can field a back-up with equal expertise on the subject.

Best Wishes,

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James Jones, Director, Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 2nd October – D Group Lunch
How can the UK up its game in the Middle East?
Ed Husain, Global Fellow – Middle East Program, The Wilson Centre & Author of The House of Islam

Thursday 4th October – CATBIG Meeting
CATBIG Kazakhstan: meet the British Ambassador
H.E. Mike Gifford, British Ambassador to Kazakhstan

Tuesday 9th October – BEI Meeting
EBRD Infrastructure & Procurement – Working and Delivering on Projects
Sue Barrett, Director for Transport & Jan Jackholt, Director for Procurement, European Bank for Reconstruction & Development

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 14th September

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 14th September

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Dear Members and friends,

The long and hot summer has come to an end, London is busy again, we've enjoyed two excellent briefings this week and we may even be reaching a denouement on Brexit with, hopefully, some sort of clarity. (Please!) Meanwhile, the team have been very busy over August with new member wins and initiatives.

The two events this week featured an impressive overview from the Rt Hon Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Middle-East and North Africa. Alistair deals with what is a massive, complex and challenging geographic brief and one which covers both FCO and DFID. It was a tour de force. Peter Cheese of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development took members through a highly insightful analysis of change in the workplace, what is driving it and how to embrace it. Looking to next week, there are two very promising events. We welcome a top team from UK Export Finance, who have one of the best export-enabling offers for 'UK inc' for years, and we welcome Ben Wallace, the Security minister.

Back to progress over the Summer lull. I'm glad to report that the team have delivered some very positive developments.

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New members.

Any membership needs to refresh and expand. It multiplies the connections for existing members and brings new and valuable perspectives. During August, six companies have agreed to join. They will be profiled by Seumas next week. Sadly we also lost one, MWH, the subject of a 2017 takeover by Canadian interests. The UK operation was an excellent member for many years. We wish the newly branded Stantec well.

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New programme.

  • Forward visibility. Diaries of senior people are always busy, so we have used the Summer to book our briefing programmes as far out as possible and make the PAs’ jobs a lot easier. The D Group forward programme now extends to Summer next year. It will fill out further and we will ensure its not too 'static' and we retain the flexibility to introduce topical briefings at short notice. The BEI programme is making similar strides but has always - and will continue to - have a high quotient of events being booked 1-3 months in advance.

  • Working Groups. The great value-add of forming groups of members around sector or thematic subjects is being built on. We have a new and very engaged Defence Working Group, a Higher Education one is being formed and the existing International Development, Central Asia & South Caucasus and Infrastructure groups continue.

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New initiatives.

In addition to growing membership, our aim is to deliver new initiatives which update and improve what is available to members.

The Strategy International Advisor Network has been updated. This is a grouping of some 20 highly experienced, senior local businesspeople and retired diplomats across the world, able to assist the membership with access, contacts and troubleshooting. It is designed to give members a proprietary alternative to the services offered by HMG's missions and their own in-house reach. More of this in a later circular to members, but we should make special mention that we were delighted over the Summer to welcome as our IA in Japan, Rooky Hayashi, whom many of you will recall as the regional head and EVP of Mitsubishi Group in Europe and Africa. Japan represents a growing opportunity for the UK Defence sector as well, of course, as being a leading global economy with huge interests in the UK.

The Middle East Access Group is now launched. It's a MENA focused, light touch networking-only offering, designed both to accommodate the needs of the many companies and individuals disappointed by the troubles experienced last year by the Middle East Association and to offer valuable connections and insights to new entrants. The fare will be some 6-8 networking evenings, usually at Grafton St and accompanied by an address from a regional expert. MEAG membership is automatically granted to all D and BEI members.

The Future Group is not a new initiative, but its new programme is looking very positive, in particular the HMG participation. All of us are regularly aware of the need to work hard at maximising understanding and contacts between the private and public sector and we are delighted that John Manzoni, the Civil Service CEO, has supported an initial cohort of civil service to join our private sector future leaders for the forthcoming one-year programme.

With best wishes,

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Tuesday 18th September - BEI Meeting (15:00)
Accessing Project Financing Support – UK Export Finance
Richard Simon-Lewis & Clare Kent, UKEF

Thursday 27th September – D Group Lunch
Lord Maude: Upskilling the Civil Service
The Rt Hon. The Lord Maude of Horsham

Wednesday 3rd October - D Group Dinner
Small modular fusion – a breakthrough technology for a low carbon future?
Dr David Kingham, Executive Vice Chairman, Tokamak Energy Ltd

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 7th September

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 7th September

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Dear Members and Friends,

Summer appears to be fast drawing to a close and with Parliament back from its Summer Recess we are fully up and running. The English Cricket Team has had a great Summer and there is just one final Test Match. We have also started the Autumn Term with some great news. James and Katy Jones had a baby girl Liberty Violet last Saturday and all are thriving and well. I am sure that you will all join me in raising a glass to their great news.

This week we have had two thought provoking events:

Wednesday 5 September. Johnny Mercer MP for Plymouth and Mount View.

As many of you will know, Johnny Mercer is one of the younger generation of MPs who have served their country in the Armed Forces. Following his family’s strong military ties, with three brothers in the Royal Navy, he elected to join the Army. He graduated from Sandhurst in 2002, rose to the rank of Captain in 2008, completed his Commando Course and served three tours in Afghanistan. It was during his last tour that he decided to enter politics. He was selected to fight a strong Labour seat in Plymouth, and the rest is history. He entered Parliament with a real passion to fight for the rights of Veterans. During Wednesday’s session we covered a wide range of Defence issues, but the key themes were leadership or the lack of it, the need for the public to really understand Defence, how the Defence Budget could be spent more effectively, and should we be spending more than 2% on Defence. Leadership was a topic that we kept returning to and is key to solving some of the challenges the country currently faces.

With the death of John McCain, America’s great soldier-statesman, it is a reminder that Britain has another model of leadership to turn to; politicians who have experienced the real world in combat in the Armed Forces prior to entering politics. Several of them are sceptical of political dogma, have access to a language of patriotism, and will have lived with and worked day to day with people from every class of society. There is a powerful argument that soldier-politicians are in a unique position to solve some of the of the biggest problems facing the country, namely the growing social divide between the elite and the masses and the Brexiteers and Remainers. They can tackle the problem of cynicism by advocating values such as service, duty and putting country before self.
 
Wednesday 5 September. Doing Development Differently. Putting Theory In To Practice.

On Wednesday members enjoyed a thought-provoking event on “doing development differently”, with stimulating insights from Leni Wild, co-Director, Global Learning for Adaptive Management at ODI. A few members presented 3-minute-pitch style presentations on what doing development meant to them and how their organisations are implementing this in their work. Views ranged from looking through the monitoring and evaluation lens, diversity in teams, focusing on adaptive programming, better understanding of the differences between flexibility and adaptability and much more.  

Big Tent Festival.

This weekend our sister not-for-profit organisation the British Foreign Policy Group, is partnering with the Big Tent Festival of Ideas, a new initiative to promote fresh thinking in UK politics. Hosting a programme of diverse and prominent speakers, the BFPG will be championing innovative and practical ideas for boosting UK trade, diplomatic, security and soft power interests for global, and especially British benefit. With the participation of members of parliament, thinktanks, business leaders and community activists from across both the UK and the political spectrum this promises to be an excellent event. Johnny Mercer will also be speaking.

The Poppy Factory. 

On Wednesday evening I attended a Poppy Factory Reception at Clarence House, which was hosted by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. It was humbling to hear what the Poppy Factory is doing to support Veterans, and on Thursday Alexandra and I witnessed this ourselves when we visited the Factory. We also made our own poppies!

To conclude, this has been a memorable week and I wish you all a relaxing weekend.

As ever,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event highlights:

Tuesday 18th September – BEI Meeting
Accessing Project Financing Support - UK Export Finance
Gordon Welsh, Head of the Business Group, UKEF
Richard Simon-Lewis - Head of Origination, Client Coverage, Marketing & Communications
Clare Kent - Head of Short Term and Post Issue Management provide insights into the workings of UKEF

Tuesday 25th September – D Group Lunch
London & Brexit
Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor, Business

Thursday 27th September – D Group Lunch
Upskilling the Civil Service
The Rt Hon. the Lord Maude of Horsham

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 24th August

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 24th August

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Dear Members and Friends,

As I write this newsletter the cricket season is drawing to an end and the football season has kicked off. We have been busy during August but the majority of people have managed to take a break. We have an exciting programme ahead of us building up to Christmas and 60% of the programme is now in place up until July 2019. Once we have a 12-month programme in place this should make all our diary planning easier.

We have also finalised our Future Group Programme and will be running two cohorts of ten. John Manzoni has nominated four fast streamers for the Programme and we only have a few remaining places. Please let us know as soon as possible if you have any nominations.

We are also forming a second Peer Working Group. Please see attached →

Enjoy the forthcoming long weekend and we look forward to seeing you in September. Our first two events of the season are on 5th September, with Johnny Mercer MP leading a D Group discussion entitled ‘Defence Priorities and Economic Reality’, and Leni Wild of ODI leading a BEI session on ‘Doing Development Differently – Putting Theory into Practice’. Please click here to view the programme.

As ever,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event highlights:

Wednesday 5th September – BEI Meeting (15:00)
Doing Development Differently – Putting Theory into Practice
Leni Wild, Director – Global Learning for Adaptive Management, ODI

Tuesday 11th September – D Group Dinner
The biggest emerging concerns in the workplace?
Peter Cheese, CEO, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Thursday 13th September – D Group Lunch
Improving the living standards of the poorest and most disadvantaged in society – the Conservative strategy
The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 27th July

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 27th July

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Dear Members and Friends,

As I start to write this week’s update it has just been reported that today has been the hottest day this year so far. We have also had elections in Pakistan and my old school friend Imran Khan is claiming victory. It was very sad to see the security incidents in Quetta as I have very fond memories of our time there as a family.

Both Houses have commenced their Summer break and London has a party atmosphere about it.

We have had a quieter week at Strategy International with the following events:

Julian Lewis, Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee. “A Defence Policy for the Next Generation, Not the Next Election.”
I can think of few men as well qualified and with the passion to fill this position as Julian. He was a Shadow Defence Minister in 2002 but was a Naval Reservist in the 1970s and for many years was actively involved as a leader of Anti-CND Campaigns. There was a lively debate on how much the Government should spend on Defence and we were reminded that in 1963 we spent 6% of GDP on Defence, Welfare and Health. Today there is a stark contrast to this. The Government’s primary role is to defend the Nation, and views were expressed as to whether or not we now have an appropriate insurance policy. We also discussed whether or not we should be prepared for The War or A War. The majority of those attending felt that the ‘A War’ argument was more appropriate.

DFID’s Work and Project Delivery in Nepal
Rurik Marsden, Head of DFID in Nepal shared an update on DFID’s work in Nepal and some insights on the closer cross government collaboration in Nepal between DFID and FCO on key policy priorities. With complex investment rules and processes, costly and unreliable energy supply, poor transport infrastructure, weak institutions and poor governance there is much work to be done and many opportunities for UK plc to support Nepal’s development efforts.
 
Beckett Rankine
Finally, amidst all the extreme heat, BEI member Beckett Rankine, one of BEI’s smaller – but world beating – consultants had, for a ports and maritime expert, a very landlocked but perfectly pitched summer reception. A great event and, amidst all the business discussion about Iraq, Qatar, China, the Thames Tideway, etc., a great reminder of just how much international business is out there and the degree to which UK professional expertise is sought after.

During August we will be finalising our D Group Programme of events out to July 2019 and ensuring that our Working Group meeting dates are finalised. We have the following events planned for September:

Wednesday 5th September – D Group Breakfast
Defence priorities and economic reality
Johnny Mercer MP, Member for Plymouth, Moor View, House of Commons
 
Tuesday 11th September – D Group Lunch
The biggest emerging concerns in the workplace?
The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
 
Wednesday 12th September – BEI Lunch
Lunch with the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Peter Cheese, Fellow of the CIPD, Fellow of AHRI and the Academy of Social Sciences
 
Thursday 13th September – D Group Lunch
Improving the living standards of the poorest and most disadvantaged in society – the Conservative strategy
The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, HM Government
 
Tuesday 18th September – BEI Meeting (15:00)
UK Export Finance – Access to Export Finance
Louis Taylor, Chief Executive, UKEF & Gordon Welsh, Head of the Business Group, UKEF
 
Thursday 20th September – D Group Lunch
Building an effective modern-day security security
The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime, Home Office
 
Tuesday 25th September – D Group Lunch
London & Brexit
Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor, Business
 
Thursday 27th September – D Group Lunch
Upskilling the Civil Service
The Rt Hon. The Lord Maude of Horsham
 
 
Have a wonderful weekend.

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 20th July

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 20th July

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Dear Members and Friends,

With World Cup fever starting to subside, we are left a country reacquainted with the feeling of national pride. The sterling efforts of our boys in Russia have also brought a much-welcomed distraction from the white noise of Brexit. Whatever the outcome next March, and that’s far from obvious right now, it is clear the UK must forge new global partnerships. In keeping with that theme, it has been an incredibly international week and busy here at Strategy as we strive to keep our members informed of the business opportunities both in the UK and overseas. Here are some of the highlights for you to enjoy. 

Infrastructure Opportunities in Guinea
On Tuesday morning, Guinea’s Mining Minister Magassouba and Investment Minister Curtis, together with the British Ambassador to Guinea, H.E. Ms Catherine Inglehearn, and the Guinea Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Alexandre Cécé Loua presented a wide range of opportunities for British companies. The country requires both financial investment as well as project management expertise. Looking to diversify beyond mining, the country’s infrastructure prospects included: rail, roads, ports, energy, water, and agriculture to name a few. 

UK contribution to trade and investment in Asia and the Pacific
In the evening, FCO Minister of State Mark Field explained to us the meaning of “running Whip” when on a crucial day for the Government, with his mobile glowing and buzzing in his pocket, he none the less made time to give us a fascinating and encouragingly upbeat analysis of the potential for UK interests and business in the Asia and Pacific region, while also spreading the discourse rather wider. The FCO’s Director of Trade Diplomacy also joined us, and with him too a number of useful connections were made. Unsurprisingly we had a crowded table with participants from our members’ top levels. Mark spoke to us seriously and frankly and with good humour, and we very much hope to have him back again before long.

DFID Economic Development Programme in Uganda
On Wednesday, Paul Turner, DFID Regional Adviser, Cities and Infrastructure, East Africa did a great job of showing how the in-country team in Uganda is coordinating ever more closely to support development objectives recognising the centrality of urban planning and infrastructure development as key drivers. He highlighted how CDC, UKEF, DIT, FCO and DFID are improving the way they leverage their respective skills and resources in support of common objectives and trying to ensure UK plc sector can tap into that effectively to help HMG in delivering development and economic prosperity in Uganda. IMC Director, Nigel Penfold then provided a very complimentary and practical case study example of a feasibility study IMC were doing for DFID on urban infrastructure. 

Lunch with the British High Commissioner to India
On Wednesday, we had the pleasure to welcome The Honourable Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, the British High Commissioner to the Republic of India, who spoke about the geopolitical overview of the country, the domestic scene and the financial situation. Whilst India is facing economic and political challenges, it still remains the third largest investor into the UK. The country as a whole is an open and competitive business destination. Opportunities for UK businesses range from hard infrastructure, automotive, pharmaceuticals to technology and artificial intelligence. There was an emphasis on relationship-building in the region to secure contracts. Sam Hoexter, UK Export Finance’s Regional Head of India, supported the High Commissioner’s message that commercial opportunities exist and highlighted that UK Export Finance together with the British High Commission in India are keen to support UK trade in the region.

The challenges and opportunities for modern service delivery
Bearing in mind all that is going on in Parliament at the moment, we were very fortunate that Secretary of State for Justice, The Rt Hon David Gauke MP was able to join us for supper on Wednesday evening. This was his third visit, the last one being when he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury. As the head of a spending Department he very succinctly laid out the challenges he faces, especially bearing in mind the 45% cut in the Department’s Budget over the last 8 years. We had a very interesting discussion on public expectations, the state of the economy and how going forward the State is going to have to take a holistic view of the whole person. The Beveridge Report of 1942 listed the 5 giants (Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness) which ultimately led to our current Government Structure. Today we need to ensure that people do not fall between the cracks between Departments and ensure, as already alluded to, that we adopt this holistic approach.

Opportunities for Japanese-UK defence collaboration
Thursday morning saw a productive breakfast with Mitsuko Hayashi, Director of International Defence Equipment for the Japanese Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA). Ms Hayashi spoke passionately about the on-going opportunities for Japanese-UK collaboration in defence, through both government to government and industry-led initiatives. Outside of the US, the UK is Japan’s leading foreign defence partner, with five major joint research projects in progress and a clear appetite to strengthen that collaboration with a defined joint equipment platform in the future. And with Japan now one of a handful of potential partners for the UK’s Future Fighter programme, we look forward to this growing collaboration. 

DFID - Working and delivering in South Sudan
On Thursday BEI hosted an eye-opening event on DFID’s work and delivering impact in South Sudan responding to opportunities and challenges. Becks Buckingham OBE, Head of DFID in South Sudan, with support from John Shotton, Head of International Economic and Social Development Unit at Mott McDonald and Pia MacRae, Chief Business Delivery Officer at Crown Agents, shared some insightful details of experiences and challenges of working in this volatile part of the world. With a focus on humanitarian, education and health interventions, DFID is delivering some greatly needed support to one of the world’s most fragile countries that has been beset by conflict since it was created in 2011. 

Accelerating Indonesian Industry 4.0 Strategy
We were delighted to welcome Mr. I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan, the Director General of Industrial Resilience and International Access Development, Ministry of Industry, Indonesia and his team as they shared the Indonesian government’s industrial strategy, Indonesia 4.0. The meeting covered Indonesia’s integrated roadmap to implement several strategies to move Indonesia into the top ten global economies by 2030. 

All that remains for me to say is, have wonderful weekend and please do check our events calendar for what’s coming up in the second half of the year.

Warm regards,

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James Jones, Director, Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 24th July – BEI Meeting
DFID Work in Nepal - Update
Rurik Marsden, Nepal Head of Office, DFID

Tuesday 24th July – D Group Lunch
A Defence Policy for the next generation, not the next election
The Rt Hon Dr. Julian Lewis MP, Chair, Defence Committee, House of Commons

Thursday 26th July – BEI Meeting
Inclusive Development Framework - Learning & Sharing
Michele Turner, Managing Director, World Learning Europe

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 13th July

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 13th July

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Dear Members and Friends,

We have discovered a fail-safe predictor of Cabinet resignations and reshuffles. They always take place days before a Secretary of State is due to speak at The D Group. True to form, with the talented Damian Hinds due to speak this Thursday, Messrs Davis and Johnson exited three days before. The next Sec of State is Justice’s David Gauke, next Wednesday..............

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The Sec of State Education, however, sailed through the recent cabinet shuffle, stuck to his appointment and sat down to discuss a number of key issues with an audience of some 30 education leaders, vice-chancellors and others with a strong interest in the sustainability, productivity and direction of UK education. Whether in terms of income, influence or research-based enterprise, the HE sector is a major player within Britain’s prosperity and role in the world. It was an excellent and thoughtful performance. Education looks as though it is in safe and very forward-looking hands. If only he could change the visa barriers to allow UK HE, worth over £11bn to the UK and inestimable amounts of soft power, to fully realise its potential. 

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The predominantly D Group themed week also saw The First Sea Lord discuss the future of the Royal Navy with 20 very committed members who prioritised listening to Philip Jones over watching the football. Not a furtive mobile phone was to be seen. It was both an exercise in iron self-control and a very useful insight into a challenging and exciting future for the RN. On top of that awesome RAF 100 fly past, it was a good week for matters Defence. 

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Our associated research group, British Foreign Policy Group, worked with the British Council and the City of London Corporation to assemble a highly relevant group of private sector and NGOs from across the UK in education, the arts, sports, commerce and HMG to discuss the role of Soft Power in a post-Brexit Britain. It was an excellent group discussion which has teed up some interesting possibilities to where and how it could help HMG enable greater progress and success.
 

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Next week there is, in addition to the Sec of State Justice, a full calendar comprising:

Tuesday 17th July – BEI Meeting
Guinea Infrastructure Opportunities
Minister Magassouba, Guinean Mining Minister and Ms Catherine Inglehear, British Ambassador to Guinea

Tuesday 17th July – D Group Lunch
UK Contribution to Trade and Investment in Asia and the Pacific
The Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Wednesday 18th July – BEI Meeting
DFID Economic Development Programme in Uganda
Paul Turner, Regional Adviser, Cities and Infrastructure, East Africa, DFID

Wednesday 18th July – BEI Lunch
Lunch meeting with the British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG
Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, British High Commissioner to India

Wednesday 18th July – D Group Dinner
The challenges and opportunities for modern service delivery
The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Ministry of Justice

Thursday 19th July – D Group Breakfast
Opportunities for Japanese-UK defence collaboration
Mitsuko Hayashi, Director for International Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation Division

Thursday 19th July – BEI Meeting
DFID – Working and delivering in South Sudan
Becks Buckingham OBE, Head of Office, Department for International Development

Friday 20th July – BEI Meeting
Accelerating Indonesian Industry 4.0 Strategy
Mr I Gusti Putu Suryawirawan, Director General of Industrial Resilience and International Access Development, Ministry of Industry, Indonesia

 

As always, if you are interested click here, find the relevant event and book.
 
Warm regards,

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 6th July

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 6th July

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Dear Members and Friends,

Another jam packed and wide-ranging week of events, tackling themes from the UK-Middle East Exchange, the future of the energy sector and DFID’s digital strategy.

On Tuesday, we welcomed Mohamed 'Ed' Husain from The Wilson Centre in New York. Having recently published his latest book, The House of Islam, Ed gave much food for thought where the UK can step up its game in the Middle East. He gave five areas in particular in which there is a perceived bond between the UK and the region. The Middle East faces many challenges of modernising its society in a smooth process but this of course has not gone without incident. Drawing upon famous past thinkers on politics, monarchy and economics, Ed gave his refreshingly honest views on the UK-Middle East exchange.

One of The D Group's more scientifically challenging events, dinner on Wednesday evening with Dr David Kingham, Executive Vice Chairman, Tokamak Energy, was stimulating as we caught a glimpse of the potential future of energy. David delivered his remarks with passion for the project which will be a beacon of UK expertise in developing this highly sophisticated technology with the potential for boundless low carbon energy. Not without its challenges, it was refreshing to learn of implications of fusion energy and how the UK in particular is a world leader. Even those with basic GSCE physics could see the vast potential of this technology.

On Thursday, the BEI calendar featured two well-attended events: an overview of DFID’s Digital Strategy with Frances Sibbet, DFID's Digital Service Lead, and a CATBIG event on Kazakhstan with the UK’s new Ambassador there, HE Mike Gifford.

Our SoS for International Development, Penny Mordant, is passionate about digital technology – and this is reflected in DFID’s strategy as a whole. Digital technology has the opportunity to transform lives, accelerate progress and stimulate growth. Frances Sibbet spoke about the importance of imbedding good practice and ensuring new digital technology is accessible to all, especially those most marginalised. Her presentation drew upon a number of examples to demonstrate effective use of digital as part of sustainable development, for instance the use of iris-based biometric technology in the recent Somaliland elections. Frances drew our attention to the importance of involving the end user throughout the design process and suggested that members might benefit from reviewing the digital Service Manual. DFID itself is currently building a new supplier portal, and we look forward to updating our members on it in the coming months.

HE Mike Gifford, HMA Kazakhstan, shared his impressions of the country having been Ambassador there since January 2018. A country with the highest growth of GDP per capita of FSU countries, Kazakhstan benefits from enormous mineral wealth. In addition, it has some of the largest extractive reserves and is home to the world’s largest oil project ($37bn) on the Tengiz field. The country’s president, however, realises the importance of not entirely relying on these resources, and we have seen a real focus on diversification of the economy and digitalisation. Another important recent development is the launch of the independent arbitration court at the Astana International Financial Centre. It’s based on the British model, practices English common law, and their judiciary’s decision is final and absolute. The population’s average age is 30, with English widely spoken among young professionals, and the education system going through promising reform. These are all great reasons for UK business to enter the market.

The weeks ahead promise some interesting events, next Wednesday DFID Europe Department’s Deputy Director Chris Carter and Policy Analyst, Clara Strandhoj, will be addressing BEI members on "Delivering humanitarian aid programmes if there's no Brexit deal" and offering guidance on how to continue bidding for EU funding, should we fail to reach a Brexit deal. We are also delighted to be welcoming Professor Gary Gerstle, currently Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, who will be leading D Group members in a discussion around "America’s voice as a global leader; enhanced or diminished?", and how the results from Novembers mid-terms could continue that tone for another 2 years.

For a full list of all events coming up please head to our website.

Have a wonderful weekend!

With Best Wishes,

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Derrick Sanyahumbi, Director, Government - Prosperity and International Development


Event highlights:

Tuesday 9th October – BEI Networking Reception (17:30)
Middle East Access Group Networking Reception

Wednesday 10th October – BEI Meeting
Delivering humanitarian aid programmes if there’s no Brexit deal
Chris Carter, Deputy Director & Clara Strandhoj, Policy Analyst, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Thursday 11th October – D Group Lunch
Fighting the corner for free enterprise
Sir Mick Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Conservative Party

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 29th June

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 29th June

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Dear Members and friends,
 
What a wonderful week of sunny weather and football we have had. With Henley and Wimbledon next week, it looks as if we are set for a memorable Summer. We now just need the Prime Minister to deliver a Brexit Master Stroke. We too have had a memorable week at Strategy International, with the following events:

Jim O’Sullivan, CEO Highways England.
Jim and four of his leadership team, plus 30 of our members participated in a quite outstanding event on Tuesday evening. For those who do not know Jim O’Sullivan, it is safe to say that he was born for this role. He is the son of a contractor and his grandfather worked on the roads in Cork. Jim started his career in BA and has also worked for National Grid, Welsh Water, Eon and Heathrow Airport Holdings.
 
The reason I mention this is that Jim is a professional engineer, who has worked at the sharp end and can see issues through the lens of both a Contactor and a CEO who has successfully run large companies. During his talk, he highlighted the importance of creating an environment which enables efficiency, service, and delivery to increase and provide supply chain certainty.

Jim has also put in place a watchdog regime to provide both assurance to road users and Government. He talked us through the Highways England 2020-2025 Vision which covered:
    •    greater automation of vehicles;
    •    increasing road to vehicle and vehicle to vehicle interaction;
    •    improved safety and increasing mobility.
 
He also talked us through the benefits of Connected Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles, Freight Convoys and Connected Corridors. In sum, while our road building schemes and our maintenance work are fundamental to enabling people and goods to move around the country, these things, to a certain extent, are a given. The new technology will enable Highways England to manage our roads and road space and concurrently enable drivers to manage their journeys.

Chile
Tuesday morning saw us welcome the first of the Prime Minister’s new Regional Trade Commissioners, Joanna Crellin, to headline our panel of speakers for our session on Infrastructure and Smart Cities opportunities in South America. The fact (as each and every speaker made clear) is that Chile is something of an open goal for British companies; from the incredibly high esteem in which the British are held in the country to the immensely impressive planning and regulatory practices that they deploy, it is a world leading location in terms of the ease of doing business. Add into this already tempting mix the potential Chile offers for expansion into the rest of a region of 600 million people, as well as the newly created government infrastructure fund and a number of upcoming projects, and it is hard to see an argument against pursuing opportunities in the Region. We will be following up on the event around Chile Day on September 7th, and we welcome your input into the areas that you would like to see us pursue further.

UK-Africa Strategy Post-Brexit
On Tuesday BEI also co-hosted a very engaging and topical event on the future of the UK’s relationship with Africa post-Brexit. The three sessions focused on the UK’s priorities as they relate to prosperity, security and influence, with an imaginative and inclusive approach to identifying what assets the UK could draw on in securing its interests. While it was clear that the UK still has a lot to offer in many areas and still maintains some legacy areas on which to build, others felt that the UK’s presence and influence had been on the wane in recent years, and that Africa has alternate and more attractive options for partners. Whilst cognisant of great diversity that exists within Africa, it was generally felt that with or without Brexit the UK has a genuine opportunity to re-establish itself as a key player on the Continent.

CATBIG: Focus on Kyrgyzstan
Rounding off a hattrick of successful BEI events on Tuesday, the latest meeting of our CATBIG series saw us welcome HE Robin Ord-Smith, our Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, as well as HMA’s Trade and Investment Officer, Sezim Beksultanova, and the Executive Director of Kyrgyzstan’s International Business Council, Askar Sydykov. Despite its relatively small economy, Kyrgyzstan has a lot to offer to the UK, especially in tourism, financial services, education, IT and mining.
 
The breadth and quality of our international events this week is, I believe, a good indication of the strength and diversity of the BEI programme, and a demonstration of the steps we are taking to help answer some of the central questions that the ongoing Brexit debates continue to ask.

The D Group Goes Regional (Newcastle City Council)
Thursday morning found us travelling North to Newcastle to jointly host an event with Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council. The format for the day was a D Group Lunch followed by a visit to the Great Exhibition of the North and finally a Reception for the great and good of Newcastle. Nick Forbes and his team were outstanding hosts and we held our events in the very impressive Mansion House in Jesmond. Eleven D Group Members and a high percentage of the Council attended the events.
 
Nick Forbes is a Labour Politician who became leader of Newcastle City Council in 2011. He has made economic growth a key focus for his Council, securing new financial powers by negotiating one of the first City Deals with the Government. He has also played a pivotal role in raising the profile of Local Government and has done a huge amount to encourage international investment in Newcastle. He is passionate about bringing profitable, sustainable business to the region, as this will assist in retaining jobs and looking after his constituents. He is a politician of principle who has a great future ahead of him. During his talk he explained how he is using culture to redefine Newcastle. Newcastle was a leading city in the first Industrial Revolution, as is demonstrated at the Discovery Museum, where we viewed Stephenson’s Rocket during the afternoon. Nick is now leading Newcastle in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as was so ably highlighted by both the National Innovation Centre for Data and the National Centre for Ageing being set up in the city.
 
Newcastle is also taking a very proactive stance in the Northern Powerhouse Agenda; Nick made it extremely clear that Newcastle’s Future is in its own hands and that it is sparkling with energy. As I write this travelling back to London one can’t help but be extremely optimistic for all that is good about Devolution, Regionalism and a City that is seizing every opportunity that events are presenting.
 
Next week we take the D Group to Sheffield and I will be presenting to the Highways England Board in Birmingham on Wednesday.

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at SummerScapes on the 5th July.
 

As ever,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event highlights:

Wednesday 11th July – D Group Lunch
The Role of the Royal Navy in the 21st Century
Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, First Sea Lord

Tuesday 17th July – D Group Lunch (09:30)
FCO Contribution to UK trade and investment in Asia Pacific
The Rt Hon Mark Field MP, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Thursday 19th July – BEI Meeting (15:00)
DFID Working and Delivering in South Sudan
Becks Buckingham OBE, Head of Office, DFID