Strategy International | Weekly Update - 19th July

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 19th July

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Dear Members and Friends,

I hope that you have all had as good a week as we have in Strategy International. I certainly started the week on a real high having watched the Federer, Djokovic Men’s Final concurrently with the Cricket World Cup on Sunday evening. I suspect that the England team are still celebrating and as a backdrop to this we are in the final week of the Prime Minister’s tenure. It is also good to see the Women’s Netball Team doing so well. Next week could be both challenging and interesting and we are promised 32 degrees centigrade in London!

We have run the following events in Strategy International this week:

Tuesday 16 July Ambassador of Afghanistan to the UK Said T Jawad.
On Tuesday morning, we were treated to a brilliant roundtable discussion with the Ambassador. He shared an update about upcoming infrastructure projects and opportunities in Afghanistan; spoke about the country’s relationships with its neighbours; and gave us an update about the ongoing peace process. The country's strategic geopolitical position makes it an important territory to consider.

Tuesday 16 July “The Energy Challenge in the 21st Century” Philip New CEO The Energy Systems Catapult.
Philip talked us through the huge energy challenges that we face as a society which are more than achievable through a massive move away from the internal combustion engine and replacing all the gas boilers in our homes as soon as possible! We have held several events on this topic over the year and it will also involve a large investment in our infrastructure. We had a very lively debate and Philip’s passion for this subject shone through. We will have to pursue digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonisation in addition to overcoming the socio-political challenges to make this a “cool thing to do.” While writing this I received an email from my energy provider congratulating me on being an energy hero by saving 1.31 tonnes of CO2 (the average person generates 6 tonnes of CO2 per year) which is the equivalent of planting 655 trees!

Tuesday 16 July The Use of UK Aid in Enhancing UK Prosperity.
On Tuesday, BEI hosted a team from The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) as they facilitated a consultative focus group discussion on UK aid’s focus on enhancing mutual prosperity. There was great discussion and contribution from participants on the pros and cons around the pursuit of secondary economic benefits for the UK and for UK plc.

Wednesday and Thursday the 17 and 18 July. The Future Group Final Accelerator Programme Event at Sandhurst.
This mixed cohort of Directors which is both pan sector and a mix of the public and private sector has been a quite outstanding group that has really bonded and generated excellent team spirit. The final event took place at Sandhurst where they discussed and explored the ethos of Serve to Lead, before having a tour of the Royal Memorial Chapel and Indian Army Room. This was followed by a Black Tie Dinner where the course members were joined by their CEOs/MDs and we all participated in a fascinating strategic leadership discussion. It was a late evening for a number of our members, but we started the final day with some light exercise under the tuition of a physical training instructor before moving in to a Board Level Exercise where each of the Directors rotated through key Board appointments. This Course is going from strength to Strength and we look forward to the next Course starting in September.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Best wishes,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event Highlights:

Tuesday 23rd July 2019 – The D Group
Discussion of report on post 18 education and funding 
Philip Augar, Practitioner & Writer

Tuesday 23rd July 2019 – BEI
The Current State of UK Aid  
Richard Gledhill, Outgoing ICAI Commissioner
Dr Marcus Cox, Director of Agulhas

Tuesday 23rd July 2019 – BEI
DFID Communications Strategy 
Mel Rouse, DFID Head of Partnerships and Branding
Michael Haigh, Deputy Director, Strategic Communications

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 12th July

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 12th July

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Dear Members and Friends,

It is with a bittersweet taste that I write my last Strategy International newsletter, as after many years of exciting and diverse work I leave next Friday to take on a new challenge. I will always remember the fascinating people I have met over the years and the thought provoking debates I have been privileged to participate in. A truly unique organisation which stands me in good stead for what lies ahead. Before then it falls to me to review another busy week at Grafton Street.

On Tuesday BEI hosted a presentation on EBRD’s work in Central Asia by Bruno Balvanera, Managing Director for Central Asia, who was joined by his colleagues Neil McKain, Regional Director covering Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan and Jonathan Aves, Senior Political Counsellor. The discussion focused on the importance of sustainable and inclusive development in the region; the sectors that are currently seeing the most development and those with the biggest growth potential; and how current political events in the region are influencing investor behaviour.

Also on Tuesday, The D Group hosted Alexandre Fasel, the Swiss Ambassador to the UK, for lunch. The Ambassador spoke at length about Switzerland’s relationship with the EU, offering his experience as something of a cautionary tale about the EU’s intractability over its laws and the immensely high value it places on homogeneity across the bloc. However, he also demonstrated how Switzerland had made a success of its arrangement through its contribution to international bodies such as the UN, its historical focus on diplomacy throughout the world – it was for example the first landlocked country to sign a treaty with Japan, in 1864! – and its prominence in financial industries. He suggested that the UK, whilst undoubtedly having the capability within its Civil Service to achieve Brexit, must adopt a different attitude in its approach if it is to make as smooth a transition as possible.

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Thursday saw the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) partnering to hold a workshop on the business opportunities in the Caribbean. A host of senior speakers from both organisations outlined their mission in the region, guidance on working with the CDB and navigating procurement processes, and the past and present opportunities in the pipelines. We were also updated on the DIT’s involvement in the Caribbean, and the Jamaica National Compliance Regulatory Authority informed us of the proper precautions needed to import to the regions.

Whether it is fast serves, fast bowlers or fast cars, I hope you all enjoy a wonderful weekend and I hope to see you all again soon.

Best Wishes,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 16th July 2019 – BEI
Meet the Ambassador of Afghanistan to the UK
HE Mr Said T. Jawad, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom

Tuesday 16th July 2019 – The D Group
Dinner with Philip New, CEO, Catapult
Philip New, CEO, Energy Systems Catapult

Tuesday 23rd July 2019 – The D Group
Discussion of report on post 18 education and funding 
Philip Augar, Practitioner & Writer

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 5th July

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 5th July

Dear Members and Friends,

A busy week on a number of fronts whilst the competition to be the UK’s next PM twisted and turned almost as much as England teams’ fortunes and the horse-trading going on in Brussels.

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Tuesday saw Serco’s CEO Rupert Soames discuss the state of UK government procurement. Alongside Brexit, it is the challenges in HMG’s procurement and project delivery processes that stand out as the main issue for much of the membership, whether in defence, health, transport or energy. With major companies seeking fair and reliable returns on capital that they can deploy around the world, it’s critical for the UK to get the right balance between taxpayer value for money and competitive returns for the private sector. We have had excellent engagement on this key subject with the Cabinet Office, relevant departments and leading private sector players, to which Rupert’s key points added a valuable contribution. He spoke at length about the key differences between private and public sector procurement, stressing the importance of understanding the differing requirements of each. Of especial importance for the public sector is the requirement for transparency and accountability. He praised the initiative behind the new outsourcing playbook but warned that unless both sides were using it properly, it would remain simply an initiative. If he could make just one change to the current system, Rupert said that he would enable contracts to be renegotiated after three years, to ensure that specifications could evolve in line with the project in question.

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All of which made for a natural lead into the instructive talk on Wednesday given by Michèle Dix about a future major project, Crossrail 2. Michèle is its impressive CEO. Crossrail 2 is the proposed North/South sister to the almost-finished West/East Crossrail. It’s a £30 billion scheme which will include 70 kilometres of new tunnels and 12 new stations. Michèle put forward a very impressive cogent case for Crossrail 2. Since 1997, London has seen a 47% increase in jobs but there has only been a 16% increase in housing. On average, there is a 10% increase in people travelling in and out of London each year and therefore a pressing need for extra capacity. The project should bring £150 billion to the UK economy and create £5 billion of work for SMEs. The government wants the project to be made more affordable and, as agreed by Boris when he was Mayor, London will pay for 50%. There was a very lively debate around technology, cost and when will Crossrail be complete but overall it was a persuasive case made by a compelling advocate.

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On Wednesday, BEI Chief Operating Officer, Derrick Sanyahumbi gave a keynote presentation on the State of Play in Africa, setting the scene for the 4th BCLP Africa Forum. Whilst acknowledging that African continent was not homogenous, he pointed to a growing youth population, a rising middle class and improving governance structures as positive indicators. In addition, with the expectation that by 2050 a quarter of the world’s consumers will live in Africa, it is an investment destination that UK plc cannot miss out on. He also highlighted the many challenges investors face, including corruption, weak regulatory, legal, and procurement structures; but with careful navigation and a long-term investment consideration, he believes expected returns on investments make Africa a viable investment destination.

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Tuesday saw our associated research group, the British Foreign Policy Group, co-host in Parliament with the British Council a meeting of the UK Soft Power Group, for which it acts as coordinator. The group brings together major UK organisations which contribute to the UK’s soft power. Working alongside partners in government, it compares perspectives and considers opportunities in a changing world. Major UK bodies represented on Tuesday included the Football Association, Universities UK, British Standards Institution, Core Cities, Tate, Southbank Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, City of London Corporation, as well as the Scottish Government. The event was a welcome opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of supporting the diversity, values and independence underpinning the vitality of the UK’s soft power internationally, and the Group will build on this over coming months, including an Autumn meeting in Dundee at the V&A.

Finally, the June edition of Perspectives, our international e-magazine is worth pointing you to. The D Group’s Ed Thicknesse has written a thought provoking piece on challenges faced by China. Timely given the subsequent ructions in and around Hong Kong. Tom Cargill interviews Fabian Hamilton, Labour’s shadow minister for peace and disarmament, giving a very different take on the international scene.

Best wishes,

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event Highlights:

Tuesday 9th July 2019 – The D Group
Lunch with Alexandre Fasel, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the UK  
Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom

Tuesday 16th July 2019 – BEI
The use of UK aid in enhancing mutual prosperity
Independent Commission for Aid Impact

Tuesday 16th July 2019 – The D Group
Dinner with Philip New, CEO, Catapult
Philip New, CEO, Energy Systems Catapult

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 28th June

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 28th June

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Dear Members and Friends,

Amidst uncertainty caused by Brexit and much else, we at Strategy International continue to carefully analyse the trends likely to impact our members and their supply chains over coming months and years.

In the UK deep uncertainty remains of course, but we see an acceleration of public investment – including into large scale infrastructure – as increasingly likely, whatever form Brexit takes. And so this week we were delighted to welcome Tim Wood, who leads the Northern Powerhouse Rail team at Transport for the North. He works in partnership with the Department for Transport, Network Rail, HS2 Ltd and Local and Combined Authorities to determine and deliver the priorities for investment in the North's rail network, freight and passenger services. He discussed the £70bn plan to revolutionise transport links in the region. The project, entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail, is long-overdue, but could bring in an estimated £100bn in revenue and create some 850,000 jobs across the North. Tim’s well elaborated, fact based insights were really appreciated and it was inspiring to hear about this programme of projects where the benefits and interdependences have been assessed from a holistic perspective.

Two D Group events next week continue with this theme. On 2nd July Rupert Soames OBE, CEO of Serco, will be leading a discussion on improving government procurement – of critical importance if some of the real concerns expressed to us are to be addressed and the benefits of additional investment realised. The following day, July 3rd, we welcome Michele Dix CBE, Managing Director of Crossrail 2 – a key example of the type of projects promising transformative potential for the UK’s economy.

A little later, on 9th July, BEI will be picking up this theme from an international perspective, hosting European Bank for Reconstruction & Development Managing Director for Central Asia Bruno Balvanera to discuss projects in a region attracting ever more commercial and political interest. As the UK repositions over coming years, the countries of Central Asia promise to become increasingly important trade partners, not only in relation to infrastructure but also other areas where British expertise excels. This event will offer a valuable insight into the shape of things to come for a key region for the UK.

Over coming weeks and months, Strategy will be positioning ever more to support our members to prepare and make the most of the very different economic and political landscape emerging through events and additional support. We very much look forward to working with you all over what promises to be a busy summer all round.

Best wishes to all,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event Highlights:

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Achieving transparency and flexibility in government procurement 
Rupert Soames OBE, CEO, Serco

Wednesday 3rd July 2019 – The D Group Dinner
Dinner with Michele Dix CBE, Crossrail 2
Michele Dix CBE, Managing Director, Crossrail 2

Tuesday 9th July 2019 – BEI
EBRD in Central Asia 
Bruno Balvanera, Managing Director, Central Asia

Tuesday 9th July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Lunch with Alexandre Fasel, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the UK  
Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom

Tuesday 16th July 2019 – BEI
Meet the Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom
His Excellency Said T. Jawad, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 21st June

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 21st June

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Dear Members and Friends,

As I begin to write this Newsletter at the beginning of the longest day, the sun is shining, Andy Murray is back on court, the English Cricket Team is playing well and we are finally down to the last 2 contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Boris Johnson is being remarkably constrained and Jeremy Hunt appears to be playing the long game. We have had an extremely exciting week and have also had time to reflect on what we heard from over 50 Ambassadors last week. We are in the process of producing a report on the Ambassadors meetings, which we will distribute in the next couple of weeks. The following events have taken place this week:

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Tuesday 18th June. BFPG Event: report launch
Parliament was the setting for the launch of BFPG’s new publication containing original research detailing years of cuts to the Foreign Office and arguing for the need to reverse this, particularly given the challenges and opportunities facing a post-Brexit Britain.  A packed room of some 150 politicians, press, business, regional leaders and a spectrum of Westminster heard broad support for the report’s conclusions from across the political and policy spectrum; from  Dame Margaret  Beckett, Tom Tugendhat, Hilary Benn, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Sir Simon Fraser, from BFPG’s Tom Cargill and from Theo Clarke, CEO of event sponsors, the Coalition for Global Prosperity. A copy of the report can be read by following this link.

Wednesday 19th June. Blockchain Applications For The Future and How It Can Enhance Your Business.
Dr Maria Grazia Vigliotti who is both a renowned author and a Member of the United Kingdom All Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain explained what Blockchain can do to enhance one’s Business, where it should be used but almost more importantly, why it should not be a default setting. By 2022 over £12 billion will have been invested in blockchain, with the Financial Sector taking the lead. Other Sectors can also utilise the technology to cut costs, enhance transparency, bring competitors together and ensure that the ledger records cannot be corrupted by any particular company or individual. Maria is in the process of writing a book titled The Executive Guide to Blockchain and this may be launched in Grafton Street in the Autumn. If you have been struggling with the language I recommend that you come along.

Wednesday 19th June Future Group Digital Transformation-Adapting Your Business Model and Leadership Style.
Richard Goold, Managing Partner along-side a number of Moorhouse SME consultants, gave the Group an inspirational insight in to the challenges that Digitisation presents with a specific focus on people change, and how C Suite Directors can not only embrace these initiatives but also give their Businesses an edge on their competitors. Successful Digital Transformation can be a game changer, but implemented unsuccessfully will almost certainly have a very negative effect on the bottom line.

Thursday 20th June. Defence Working Group Supper: Jacqui Rock Chief Commercial Officer Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
Over the last three weeks we have heard both John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service, and Gareth Rhys Williams, the Government Chief Commercial Officer, talk about their plan to professionalise the functionary support to all Government Departments. Jacqui Rock is a living example of this, having been a Commercial Director with Meryl Lynch for the previous 35 years. She has an absolute passion to work in a genuine partnership with Industry and make the DIO Commercial Function the best in Government. Her clearest message? Early engagement, constant dialogue, and that her door is always open to industry.

Having completed an excellent evening with the Defence Working Group I was fortunate to be invited to a second dinner of the evening at the Pakistan High Commissioner’s Residence to welcome a distinguished visitor from Pakistan. Fortunately, the rain held off for the reception in the garden before the guests went through for an enlightening and charming evening. The message that came across was that the new Prime Minister is determined to ensure that Pakistan will live within its means, that the country is open for business, and is particularly keen to work with the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister is encouraging the UK’s Pakistan diaspora to invest in their homeland, while the other major challenge is to ensure that more tax is paid in Pakistan. Pakistan has a population of 20 million and under 1%  (700,000) pay tax!

With warm weather forecast for the weekend and train strikes permitting, I hope that everyone will find some time to relax and perhaps even have a barbecue.

Best wishes to all,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Upcoming Events:

Wednesday 26th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Northern Powerhouse Rail in the context of the Strategic Transport Plan
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport of the North

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Achieving transparency and flexibility in government procurement 
Rupert Soames OBE, CEO, Serco

Wednesday 3rd July 2019 – The D Group Dinner
Dinner with Michele Dix CBE, Crossrail 2
Michele Dix CBE, Managing Director, Crossrail 2

Tuesday 9th July 2019 – BEI
EBRD in Central Asia 
Bruno Balvanera, Managing Director, Central Asia

Tuesday 9th July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Lunch with Alexandre Fasel, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the UK  
Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom

Thursday 11th July 2019 – BEI
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) – Business Opportunities Workshop   
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and UK Department for International Trade

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 14th June

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 14th June

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I am writing this week’s report on the back of another hugely successful British Expertise International – Meet the Ambassadors programme. Before going into more detail about that and with last Friday’s newsletter dedicated to the D-Day anniversary, I thought I would first pick-up the briefing from last week.

Wednesday 5th June “The Future of Smart Infrastructure in the UK” Andrew Wyllie CBE President of the Institute of Civil Engineers.
Andrew started his talk by reminding us that we are firmly in the 4th Industrial Revolution and that it is technology and not bricks and mortar that will drive the changes in Smart Infrastructure. He also reminded us that it was the Regulatory Bodies that were asking 3 key questions: How do we increase the capacity of the network? How do we improve Customer Service and providers must ensure security of supply? Finally, all of this must be provided with no additional money. There was also a very wide-ranging debate concerning the speed of change, the necessity for CEOs to have a very clear vision and the skills we require to face the future.

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Now to this week’s events and it must be a first for 23 Grafton St to have welcomed in one day 50 of HM’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners from around the World. They met some 300 companies in Ambassadorial groups to update them on and discuss business opportunities in a range of export markets in Asia, South America, the Middle East, North and East Africa, South East Europe and Central Asia. What came across was a palpable eagerness to look beyond current domestic UK pre-occupations and really start to drive export opportunity for UK enterprise. It’s not a task without its challenges and there was lively debate between those present as to what was working and what not in current HMG Trade engagement with business, but all conducted within an atmosphere of great determination and positive, collaborative engagement. Plenty of follow-up to do and keep these connections live and engaged with the membership.

Not to be overshadowed by yesterday’s events, Tuesday saw the latest in the ‘Brexit Breakfast’ series, in which we invite all shades of opinion and expertise to discuss their views with small CEO groups. Whatever the debate around Change UK or on her determined position on the need for a ‘people’s vote’ one cannot deny Anna Soubry’s personal bravery in sticking to her beliefs nor her very persuasive take on the hard facts of parliamentary and EU negotiating life facing the next Tory leader.

It has been a busy last few days so I would like to wish the team here at Grafton Street and you all a very relaxing weekend.

Best Wishes,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 18th June 2019 – BEI
Major Sporting Events Infrastructure Opportunities 
Andrew Bacchus, Lead, The Sports Economy DIT
Damon Lavelle, Principal, Populous
Jon Coxeter-Smith, Founder and CEO, Sagacity MCS Limited

Wednesday 19th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Blockchain – Applications in Infrastructure and Supply Chain Management 
Haydn Jones, Founder and Managing Director, Blockchain Hub

Wednesday 26th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Northern Powerhouse Rail in the context of the Strategic Transport Plan
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport of the North

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Achieving transparency and flexibility in government procurement 
Rupert Soames OBE, CEO, Serco

Tuesday 2nd July 2019 – MEAG Reception
MEAG Reception 
Sanam Vakil, Middle East North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Wednesday 3rd July 2019 – The D Group Dinner
Dinner with Michele Dix CBE, Crossrail 2
Michele Dix CBE, Managing Director, Crossrail 2

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 7th June

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 7th June

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Dear Members and Friends,

There will be numerous opportunities to write weekly roundups but only one to reflect on the 75th anniversary of D Day. I write this early on Thursday morning as a lone piper signals the exact hour the amphibious landings began. Many of us will have personal connections with that day and the following weeks and their demonstration of outstanding heroism and sacrifice both on the beaches and the home front. So I’m sure you will forgive me for postponing reports on some great events this week at 23 Grafton St (delivered despite traffic and helicopter noise inconveniences caused by The Donald’s London visit) and, instead, commemorating -and dwelling on the lessons from- June 6 1945.

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Have a great weekend and we look forward to seeing many of you here next week as we host 45+ UK Ambassadors from around the world. We are also excited to launch our annual summer exhibition on Tuesday evening.

Best wishes,

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event Highlights:

Thursday 13th June 2019
Meet the UK Ambassadors — AFRICA
Join BEI in association with Invest Africa for our annual “Meet the Ambassadors” Africa events. UK Heads of Mission will provide political and economic updates and share their insights on opportunities for British Business. Please double check venues as some meetings will be held as usual at 23 Grafton Street and others at:

• East Africa — 8.45am (Venue — 23 Grafton St)
• Francophone Africa — 11.30am (Venue — 23 Grafton St)
• Southern Africa — 9.30am (14 June, venue — PwC, More London)
• West Africa– 1.30pm (venue — IHS Markit, London)
• Central Africa– 8.30am (venue — Squire Patton Boggs, EC2M 4YH)

Thursday 13th June 2019 – Venue: 23 Grafton St
Meet the UK Ambassadors
Join us for the annual BEI “Meet the Ambassadors” events as UK Heads of Mission share their insights on opportunities for British companies and also provide political and economic updates on their countries and the region. With the UK looking to reinforce its place in the world more now than ever before, there is a wealth of opportunities for UK plc.

Balkans — 8.45am
Middle East & North Africa — 2.00pm
Asia — 11.30am
Latin America — 2.00pm
Central Asia & South Caucasus (CATBIG) — 4.30pm
Caribbean — 4.30pm

Tuesday 18th June 2019 – BEI
Major Sporting Events Infrastructure Opportunities 
Andrew Bacchus, Lead, The Sports Economy DIT
Damon Lavelle, Principal, Populous
Jon Coxeter-Smith, Founder and CEO, Sagacity MCS Limited

Wednesday 19th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Blockchain – Applications in Infrastructure and Supply Chain Management 
Haydn Jones, Founder and Managing Director, Blockchain Hub

Wednesday 26th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Northern Powerhouse Rail in the context of the Strategic Transport Plan
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport of the North

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 31st May

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 31st May

Dear Members and Friends,

As I write this weekly report, the sun is shining, England have seen off South Africa in the Cricket World Cup, there is a UK win in the Europa final, by definition there will be one in the Champions league, and the ever expanding Tory leadership contest is beginning to resemble the starting line-up of the Grand National (with a similar spread in the betting odds). We have had an equally exciting week at Strategy International.

Perspectives - Podcast
Alexander Downer, the longest serving Australian foreign minister and up til last year the Aussie High Commissioner to the UK, spoke to Tom Cargill. It’s a good listen for anyone interested in listening to a hugely informed and experienced voice on the subjects of UK/China relations, UK/Australian defence and security co-operation and a particular take on the Brexit process and what it’s doing to the UK. Here’s the link →

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Wednesday 29th May. The Future of Air Power Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier KCB CBE DFC, Chief of the Air Staff
As Stephen nears the end of his career after 39 years’ service, he reflected on the trends during his service but concentrated on the future and what this would mean for Air Power. He talked through 12 points and the thrust of his vision was as follows. Space would and is becoming increasingly important (this has already been spotted by many Nations), air vehicles increasingly will be unmanned, technological development will outpace the legal, moral and ethical frameworks and the 4th dimension time will become increasingly important. The speed of decision making is key, and we will all need learn how to cope with artificial intelligence. We had a fascinating wide-ranging discussion and recognised that we faced similar challenges across all our businesses.

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Wednesday 29th May. DFID Work in the Middle East and North Africa
Wednesday saw Emma Donnelly, Deputy Director of DFID’s Middle East and North Africa Division, brief a keen audience on the Department’s activities in this Region which have grown considerably since the Arab Spring in 2011. The particular mixture of factors such as conflict-driven migration and political rivalries between major regional powers make for a particularly challenging planning and delivery environment. This has led DFID to focus in-depth on three core themes: humanitarian assistance, education and economic growth in alignment with HMG’s “fusion” approach to building greater stability.

Thursday 30th May. Dealing with the Russians
On Thursday evening, D Group members were treated to a brilliant discussion with Dr Andrew Monaghan, Director of Research on Russia and Northern European Defence and Security at the Changing Character of War Centre at Pembroke College, Oxford. The discussion explored the nature of the relationship between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia, and the extent to which renewed dialogue may be possible. It was argued that the source of conflict is a fundamental misunderstanding and a clash of policies, and that it is unhelpful that many of our politicians tend to give very polarised, binary responses when it comes to discussing the Russian state. While our government’s relationship with the Russian state has been tense of late, some other countries are faring better – notably, China. There is a necessity for a new agenda in any new dialogue, and business will have a major role to play in this.

As the week now draws to a close we can all look forward to a sunny hot weekend. Last night I was at the Tower of London for the handover of Governors and had a long conversation with the Chaplain to the Tower who had just returned from Ethiopia. He had been living in a remote village for a month in a mud hut with a family. There was no electricity, running water or wifi but it was a thriving community, with respect for everyone and little or no crime. This is in total contrast to the hectic, connected world that we all live in. On that note, have a brilliant weekend and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Upcoming Events:

Wednesday 5th June 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Future of Smart Infrastructure in the UK 
Andrew Wyllie CBE FREng MBA BSc CEng FICE CCMI, President, The Institution of Civil Engineers

Thursday 6th June 2019 – BEI
Project Opportunities Middle East and North Africa
Ceri Evans, Regional Manager UK, MEED Projects

Tuesday 11th June 2019 – BEI
New Infrastructure Opportunities in Chile
Chilean Minister of Public Works, Juan Andres Fontaine

Thursday 13th June 2019
Meet the UK Ambassadors — AFRICA
Join BEI in association with Invest Africa for our annual “Meet the Ambassadors” Africa events. UK Heads of Mission will provide political and economic updates and share their insights on opportunities for British Business. Please double check venues as some meetings will be held as usual at 23 Grafton Street and others at:

• East Africa — 8.45am (Venue — 23 Grafton St)
• Francophone Africa — 11.30am (Venue — 23 Grafton St)
• Southern Africa — 9.30am (14 June, venue — PwC, More London)
• West Africa– 1.30pm (venue — IHS Markit, London)
• Central Africa– 8.30am (venue — Squire Patton Boggs, EC2M 4YH)

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 24th May

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 24th May

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Dear Members and Friends, 

As we go to press we have another date for the diary. Mrs May will step down as Prime Minister on 7 June. I guess the bigger question is who will be stepping up and into those leopard print courts?  Regular readers will know I tend to side step political comment when writing the Strategy International weekly missive but this week it’s impossible.  The Prime Minister has shown resilience, determination and a deep sense of duty but alas “winter is coming” as a new game of thrones begins.

Back in Grafton Street my colleagues have summed up the three main meetings held as follows:

21 May - DFID Work on Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption
BEI hosted Charlotte Hull, DFID Head of Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption Department as she shared an update on DFID’s work in this broad area. She highlighted DFID’s new Governance Position Paper which sets DFID’s approach to governance in a changing world. DFID Private Sector Advisor, Julia Kraetke went on to present on the DFID led cross government Business Integrity Initiative, an online hub that signposts companies to anti-corruption and human rights guidance and provides support to SMEs on anti-bribery and corruption compliance and prevention.

22 May - DFID Global Funds Department Update
On Wednesday, DFID’s Deputy Head of the Global Funds Department (GFD), Niall Fry provided BEI members an update on DFID’s policy engagement and programmes work with global health funds and institutions that include: the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria; Gavi; the Global Polio Eradication Programme; Unitaid; UNAIDs; UNFPA Supplies; and the World Health Organisation.

22 May - The Right Honourable Tobias Ellwood Minister for Defence People and Veterans
We were impressed from the outset that the Minister managed to attend this D Group event as there was not much going on in the House of Commons! The Minister gave us a very broad ranging talk covering the role that the UK might want to play on the world stage in the future, the aspirations of China and Russia, the Rule Based Order that was established at the end of the Second World War and how increasingly this was being challenged, with little push back. Following his presentation there was a very lively, challenging debate. The Minister was strongly pushing the Armed Forces Covenant and alluded to the American DOD contracting process where Companies will be required to state how many Veterans they employ. This was a quite excellent evening.

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Please forgive my indulgence for one more comment on this year’s BEI Awards.  We have created a winners’ brochure using pictures from the event which you can find here. Thankfully these were taken before the after party! We are already planning for next year so please do send us your suggestions and ideas.

There is also much to look forward to in the coming weeks, all accessible on the Strategy International website events pages. I’d like to draw your attention to the annual BEI Meet the UK Ambassadors Events where we are looking forward to hosting UK Heads of Mission as they provide updates on their respective regions. Spaces will be limited and I would encourage you to book now. We look forward to seeing you soon and in the meantime, wish you a wonderful long weekend, hopefully full of sunshine and fun. 

For those of you managing the emotional angst of GCSEs and A levels – you have my sympathies and may next week give us all some respite!

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Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International


Event Highlights:

Wednesday 29th May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work in the Middle East and North Africa 
Emma Donelly, Deputy Director of DFID’s Middle East and North Africa Division

Wednesday 29th May 2019 – The D Group Dinner
The Future of Air Power 
Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen John Hillier, KCB CBE, DFC, Chief of the Air Staff

Thursday 30th May 2019 – The D Group Dinner
Dealing with the Russians 
Dr Andrew Monaghan, Director of Research on Russia and Northern European Defence and Security, The Changing Character of War Centre, Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Thursday 13th June 2019
Meet the UK Ambassadors — AFRICA
Join BEI in association with Invest Africa for our annual “Meet the Ambassadors” Africa events. UK Heads of Mission will provide political and economic updates and share their insights on opportunities for British Business. Please double check venues as some meetings will be held as usual at 23 Grafton Street and others at:

• East Africa — 8.45am (Venue — 23 Grafton St)
• Francophone Africa — 11.30am (Venue — 23 Grafton St)
• Southern Africa — 9.30am (14 June, venue — PwC, More London)
• West Africa– 1.30pm (venue — IHS Markit, London)
• Central Africa– 8.30am (venue — Squire Patton Boggs, EC2M 4YH)

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 17th May

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 17th May

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The UK will take to the polls again next week, this time for more unexpected reasons, as we vote on our next assembly of MEPs. An academic result or not, the government has made it clear they will be expected to take their seats this summer - interpret that how you will! From the unexpected to the worst kept secret in politics and Boris Johnson’s admission that he will be running for Conservative Party Leadership. The rumour mill is already beginning to turn on the other riders and runners in the race to be PM and we’re all just hoping for a quick and clean fight. The events this week have been as follows:

On Tuesday, BEI hosted a meeting on Migration and Modern Slavery with DFID’s Deputy Director and Head of the Migration and Modern Slavery Department, Paul Whittingham providing useful insights on the work of this relatively new focus area. The term “modern slavery” needs to be used sensitively and takes many forms, and drivers include; poverty, criminality/recruitment channels and value distribution in supply chains. It is thought there are over 40 million people living in slavery globally, with numbers in UK pegged at more than 10,000.

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On Wednesday lunchtime Gareth Rhys Williams, the government’s Chief Commercial Officer, took us through the government’s plans to make its commercial function the UK’s best. Gareth has overseen major improvements to the capability of government procurement staff by hiring 500 new senior Civil Servants, as well as introducing a new set of cross-cutting behaviours and practices designed to standardise the government’s approach across all its departments. The Government Commercial Function is in the process of training 50,000 Civil Servants in contract management to further develop capability, and in February it released the ‘Outsourcing Playbook’, a set of 11 new policies that represent a near-complete redesign of the outsourcing process.

Later that afternoon, BEI hosted an ICAI review presentation on CDC’s investments in low-income and fragile states. It was felt that whilst CDC has made progress in redirecting investments to low-income and fragile states, the building of in-country capacity to support a more developmental approach has been slow. In addition, more needed to be done to monitor development results, or to progress plans to improve evaluation and apply learning. CDC’s Chairman was available to respond to the report findings and highlight how some of the key findings were already being attended to.

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On Thursday, The D Group hosted a lunch with Sarah Keeble, Partner at Mishcon de Reya, who led a discussion on ‘The Gender Pay Gap’. Two years ago, the UK was one of the first countries in the world to introduce it; now, employers with more than 250 employees have to report once a year on the average difference of remuneration between men and women across the organisation. Although this gap has been narrowing since the late 1990s, there is still a lot to do to reach equal pay. Sarah Keeble suggested more unbiased training, flexible working hours, mentoring and work experience from an early age for children: just like a company cannot see the gender pay gap without producing figures, a child cannot see equal opportunities without being presented with examples.

For those who will be tuning in enjoy the FA Cup final, as a United supporter I will be spending the weekend celebrating the end of the season!

Best Wishes,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 21st May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work on Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption
Charlotte Hull, Head of Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption Department

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – BEI
DFID Global Funds Department Update
Niall Fry, Deputy Head, DFID Global Funds Unit

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – BEI
Argentina Infrastructure Opportunities
Inbound UK-Argentine Mission Delegation

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – The D Group Dinner
My Vision for Defence People and Veterans
The Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, Parliament Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Ministry of Defence

Wednesday 29th May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work in the Middle East and North Africa 
Emma Donelly, Deputy Director of DFID’s Middle East and North Africa Division

Wednesday 29th May 2019 – The D Group Dinner
The Future of Air Power 
Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen John Hillier, KCB CBE, DFC, Chief of the Air Staff

Thursday 30th May 2019 – The D Group Dinner
Dealing with the Russians 
Dr Andrew Monaghan, Director of Research on Russia and Northern European Defence and Security, The Changing Character of War Centre, Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 10th May

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 10th May

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Dear Members and friends,

A short but full week. Two speaker events, a very energised art opening, two new members. More on Liverpool and Spurs later…

The CEO of the civil service, John Manzoni, reviewed progress with us since his visit a year ago. It’s an encouraging report card. Alongside an intensive programme to successfully set in place contingency arrangements for most of those ‘no-deal ‘ challenges under the UK’s control, the focus on upskilling civil service commercial capability has continued apace. The priority has been to drive hiring and structure very much towards enhancing civil service strengths around the how, not the what. Prioritising delivery not policy. Certainly from Strategy’s point of view we see more improvements than frustrations. So still very much ‘work in progress’ but definitely heading in the right direction - and achieved amidst a really demanding period.

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On Thursday veteran Search expert Peter Felix gave a talk on the role and importance of Advisory Boards. Their role and potential have received little attention but with increasing pressure on main Boards to improve their performance and handle fast-moving marketplace, regulatory and compliance challenges (Data Protection, Cyber Security, Digital Disruption, etc) they offer a useful and flexible way of attracting valuable experience. The point was emphasised that to be effective, they must have a very clear mandate. Peter has written an extensive report which can be viewed here.

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Tuesday saw the opening of a mixed painting and sculpture exhibition by Carolyn de Rothschild and Long Ly. It was very well attended but I’d still take the opportunity to remind members that the art events, often built around countries and themes very relevant to what we do, are open to all and offer a very relaxed and congenial surrounding for making contacts on a weekday night.

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We welcome two leading players in the communications world to the membership. Inmarsat, the UK’s leader in satellite communications and the major US company, Leidos (previously SAIC) a global leader in providing technological solutions to the civil, defence, health and intelligence sectors.

Finally, as a committed Leeds fan it takes a lot to praise Liverpool and Spurs but if ever we wanted an example of how leadership can turn an apparently hopeless position this was it. Westminster take note…

Best wishes,

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Upcoming Events:

Tuesday 14th May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work on Migration and Modern Slavery
Paul Whittingham, DFID Deputy Director & Head of the Migration and Modern Slavery Department

Wednesday 15th May 2019 – BEI
CDC’s Investments in Low-Income and Fragile States – an ICAI Review
Richard Gledhill, Lead Commissioner, ICAI

Wednesday 15th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Lunch with Gareth Rhys Williams
Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer and Non-Executive Director, Crown Commercial Service

Thursday 16th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Gender Pay Gap
Sarah Keeble, Partner, Employment Department, Mishcon de Reya

Tuesday 21st May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The UK-Canada Bilateral Relationship
Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Permanent Representative of Canada to the International Maritime Organisation

Tuesday 21st May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work on Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption
Charlotte Hull, Head of Governance, Open Societies and Anti-Corruption Department

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – BEI
DFID Global Funds Department Update
Niall Fry, Deputy Head, DFID Global Funds Unit

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – BEI
Argentina Infrastructure Opportunities
Inbound UK-Argentine Mission Delegation

Wednesday 22nd May 2019 – The D Group Dinner
My Vision for Defence People and Veterans
The Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, Parliament Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Ministry of Defence

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 3rd May

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 3rd May

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Dear Members and Friends,

We have had an extremely busy and stimulating week at Strategy International and we have another long weekend ahead of us! On the sporting front, the cricket season has started with a vengeance, the Football Leagues are drawing to a close (Manchester City to win?!) and Andy Murray may be fit for Wimbledon. The General’s Golf Team also had its first outing and drew with the Royal Variety Club. We also, as I write this, have the election results still coming in and it will be very interesting to see the final results at the end of the day. The events this week have been as follows:

Future Group Update: Understanding Corporate Finance and Diversity and Inclusion.
On Monday Olivier Beroud took the Group through the intricacies of profit and loss, how to read a Balance Sheet, Cashflow, Accounting Principles and Liabilities and Assets, plus many other topics. The golden thread of Strategic Leadership was retained with the overall message being that Cash is King and the CEO can never abdicate responsibility.

On Wednesday the Future Group addressed the sensitive area of Diversity and Inclusion Policies that is a prerequisite for any Company these days. Millennials now frequently look at Company Policies before deciding whether or not to apply for a role. In the morning I chaired a Panel Discussion in conjunction with Caroline Noblet, an Employment Lawyer and Partner from Squire Paton Boggs and Charlotte Bennett, an HR Director from the Middle East. All forms of Diversity (Cognitive, Gender, Ethnicity, Geographic, BAME, LGBTQ, Mental Health and many more) were discussed, but what came through loud and clear was the importance of Inclusivity – and success should flow straight to the bottom line. In the afternoon the Group produced new Policies for their Companies. This was a quite excellent day. I would like to say a huge thank-you to Caroline and Charlotte for giving up so much of their time

Tuesday 30 April: Baroness Dido Harding. Chair NHS Improvement. Bringing Business Sense to the NHS.
On Tuesday lunchtime, we welcomed Baroness Harding to share her thoughts on bringing business sense to the NHS. Only 18 months into her role as Chair of NHS Improvement and still on a self-confessed steep learning curve, Baroness Harding set out a clear mandate for change. At the centre of which was the use of technology and greater collaboration as key elements in addressing some of the challenges she has identified in leadership, culture and efficiency, whilst also driving the NHS towards a more personal, patient led service of fully integrated care. There is still work to be done with some worrying statistics to digest such as, 10% of patients in hospital are there due to NHS error and 30% of all UK hospitals are still without electronic records. Nevertheless, the overarching message was one of pride in a globally coveted National Health Service and with the key support of business, hope for a more digital future.

Tuesday 30 April: Key Themes for West Africa 2019
BEI hosted an engaging discussion on West Africa’s outlook and panellists shared insights on doing business in the Region, and how political, economic and other factors would impact growth in West Africa. Many thanks to panellists Leo AdekoyaRobin Gwynn and Segun Osuntokun for contributing to such a rich discussion. Some of the key takeaways, and many not new to all of us, include: investing in the Region is for the long term, there may be governance issues to contend with – but being resolute and principled eventually delivers results, developing human capital is vital, building local relationships is key to business success, and this Region was likened to a sleeping giant, with Nigeria the next "big thing". 

Wednesday 1 May: Safeguarding Network – Next Steps
BEI hosted a meeting of the DFID private sector suppliers Safeguarding Lead Network. The meeting marked 6 months since DFID hosted the International Safeguarding Summit in 2018. DFID private sector suppliers met to discuss progress and developments since the summit, with additional updates from DFID, NGOs represented by BOND and UK research institutions represented by UKCDR. Open discussion followed around experiences, challenges and barriers to progress. The Group will continue to meet regularly and engage across the different sectors in International Development to ensure effective approaches to Safeguarding.

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Perspectives
Strategy published the fourth edition of Perspectives, a monthly publication, taking a positive and outward-looking stance on the UK’s overseas trade and policy interests. We distribute Perspectives via email each month, you can subscribe here,  and this edition includes an interesting and wide-ranging podcast discussion on the Middle East with leading Panorama reporter, Jane Corbin. An invaluable 15 minutes for anyone wanting a tour of the region and its complexities.

I think that this is more than enough for now. Have a wonderful long weekend and we look forward to seeing you all soon in 23 Grafton Street.

Best wishes,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Upcoming Events:

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Procurement – aligning business and the civil service
John Manzoni, Chief Executive, Civil Service

Thursday 9th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Advisory Boards – Their relevance in a changing society
Paul Turner & Peter Felix CBE, Principals, Turner Felix Associates

Tuesday 14th May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work on Migration and Modern Slavery
Paul Whittingham, DFID Deputy Director & Head of the Migration and Modern Slavery Department

 Wednesday 15th May 2019 – BEI
CDC’s Investments in Low-Income and Fragile States – an ICAI Review
Richard Gledhill, Lead Commissioner, ICAI

 Wednesday 15th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Lunch with Gareth Rhys Williams
Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer and Non-Executive Director, Crown Commercial Service

 Thursday 16th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Gender Pay Gap
Sarah Keeble, Partner, Employment Department, Mishcon de Reya

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 26th April

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 26th April

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Dear Members & Friends,

No slow start to post-Easter week for us, in fact it’s been non-stop at 23 Grafton Street as we packed five days resolutely into four.

Straight into business Tuesday morning with a BEI hosted session. Simon Penney, Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan joined us to share insights on; his role, the market and opportunities for UK Business including political and economic updates. While there was broad agreement that the region offers many opportunities and potentially great rewards for UK business, it was generally accepted that doing business in the region has its challenges. Discussions outcomes included requests for enhanced and increased DIT support for the SME entering and operating in the region by providing more direct access to government resources.

That evening, the D Group welcomed Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure at KPMG International, for a discussion around the Future of Transport. As our transport systems evolve beyond recognition there are many clear socio-economic benefits. The private sector’s desire to invest in new technology has aligned with the public good, the potential to stop road deaths, deliver cuts in carbon pollution and provide accessibility to everyone. Debate covered a wide range of issues, from government regulation of movement (especially in cities, where capacity is constrained), to the loss of low-skilled jobs and to the impact of human enhancement (Human 2.0). We look forward to picking up some of these themes in our future events.

The first in a series on Key Themes Africa 2019 was held on Wednesday with a focus on East Africa. According to many economic outlook reports, the region’s economic performance is set to outperform much of the rest of the world at around 6.3% growth. To unpick some of the themes around the expected performance, explore the potential bright spots as well as points of risk, BEI hosted a very engaging discussion with a panel of experts on the region including; Tara O'Connor, Founder and Director at Africa Risk Consulting, Joel Kibazo Managing Partner at JK Associates and Thomas Wheatley from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Africa Group.

Breakfast time yesterday provided two options. Away from the office Seumas Chaired a Mishcon de Reya/FT Leap 100 Breakfast on key issues for fast growing young companies exploring new International Markets. The panel interacting with a dozen impressive growth enterprises comprised senior executives from Strategy International members. Along with Mishcon’s Commercial and IP Partner, Lewis Cohen, were Albert Maasland (CEO, Crown Agents Bank), Jillian Moore (Head of Digital, Atos) and Robin MacKenzie (Marketing Director, De La Rue). There was an excellent discussion and both practical and cultural ‘musts’. The importance of mining multiple private sector and government networks for insights and contacts before making any market move, having a very clear strategy and plan, ensuring the plan is in line with local regulation and law, to working capital and prompt payment and having diversity in your local management team whilst not compromising your own brand culture and values as you adjust for a new market. It was an excellent breakfast session and shows the value to ‘UK Inc’ of bringing together dynamic growing companies with those that have ‘been there, done that’.

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Those of us who remained in Grafton Street were joined by the Chief Executive of Public Health England Duncan Selbie who offered a fascinating window into the critical, and not widely known roles Public Health England plays in managing a range of health issues to the UK. These include helping identify and isolate individual severe man-made and natural health threats entering the UK, as well as providing the data and strategies local and national government depend upon to make well informed public health decisions. Duncan made clear how well respected and globally interconnected England and the UK’s approach to public health is, including on data collection, but also how fragile this status is at a time when policy makers and others are so distracted by exiting the EU.

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We wrapped up the week as BEI hosted a DFID procurement focussed team including, Juliet Chua - Director General for Finance and Corporate Performance, Rob Shooter, Deputy Head of DFID’s Procurement and Commercial Department and Tracey Tulloch - Head of Compliance and Risk within the Procurement and Commercial Department. The meeting, designed for the micro and SME company not already engaged with the Department introduced DFID, UK Aid services and overseas working with an overview of recent DFID Procurement Reform. Tracey presented on “Myth Busting” some of the perceptions on working with DFID and an interactive session where participants could engage and ask questions enabled companies to hear first-hand from organisations already busy in the sector. Some 70 companies attended what was a very engaging and lively session.

And then it was Friday! Have a wonderful weekend all.

Best wishes,

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Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International


Upcoming events:

Tuesday 30th April 2019 – The D Group Lunch 
Bringing business sense to the NHS  
Baroness Dido Harding, Chair, NHS Improvement  

Tuesday 30th April 2019 – BEI 
Key Themes for 2019: West Africa   
Olusegan Okubanjo, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, OBSIDIAN  

Thursday 1st May 2019 – BEI 
Safeguarding Network – Next Steps
Karen Eeuwens, DFID Safeguarding Unit   

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Procurement – aligning business and the civil service
John Manzoni, Chief Executive, Civil Service

Thursday 9th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Advisory Boards – Their relevance in a changing society
Paul Turner & Peter Felix CBE, Principals, Turner Felix Associates

Tuesday 14th May 2019 – BEI
DFID Work on Migration and Modern Slavery
Paul Whittingham, DFID Deputy Director & Head of the Migration and Modern Slavery Department

 Wednesday 15th May 2019 – BEI
CDC’s Investments in Low-Income and Fragile States – an ICAI Review
Richard Gledhill, Lead Commissioner, ICAI

 Wednesday 15th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Lunch with Gareth Rhys Williams
Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer and Non-Executive Director, Crown Commercial Service

 Thursday 16th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
The Gender Pay Gap
Sarah Keeble, Partner, Employment Department, Mishcon de Reya

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 18th April

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 18th April

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The sun is shining, Easter is just around the corner and everyone here at 23 Grafton Street are basking in the glow of another fantastic British Expertise International Awards. A truly inspiring display of the exceptional projects and impact UK infrastructure is having across the globe. We would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all of the winners, but equally those companies short listed for what was another keenly contested awards.

View the 2019 BEI Award Winners →

On a more sombre note we must acknowledge the sad events in Paris this week. A huge loss to the whole country, but in time and with generous donations already pouring in we know they will repair and rebuild.

Next week we look forward to debating many important subjects including the future of transport, hearing from Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East and finding out from the Chief Executive of Public Health England about what “Good Health” really means.

All that it leaves me to do is to wish everyone a great weekend and a fabulous Easter!

Best Wishes,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 – BEI 
Simon Penney Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for the Middle East, Afghanistan & Pakistan

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 – The D Group Dinner
The Future of Transport
Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure, KPMG International

Wednesday 24th April 2019 – BEI
Key Themes for 2019: East Africa
Veronica Bolton Smith, Strategy & Development, Invest Africa

Thursday 25th April 2019 – The D Group Breakfast
Good health and what we mean by this
Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England

Thursday 25th April 2019 – BEI 
Myth Busting with DFID for SMEs 
The UK Department for International Development 

Tuesday 30th April 2019 – The D Group Lunch 
Bringing business sense to the NHS  
Baroness Dido Harding, Chair, NHS Improvement  

Tuesday 30th April 2019 – BEI 
Key Themes for 2019: West Africa   
Olusegan Okubanjo, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, OBSIDIAN  

Wednesday 1st May 2019 – BEI 
Safeguarding Network – Next Steps  
Karen Eeuwens, DFID Safeguarding Unit

Wednesday 8th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Procurement – aligning business and the civil service
John Manzoni, CEO, Civil Service

Thursday 9th May 2019 – The D Group Lunch
Advisory Boards – Their relevance in a changing society  
Paul Turner & Peter Felix CBE, Principals, Turner Felix Associates

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 12th April

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 12th April

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Dear Members and Friends,

We exist in parallel universes. One in which we watch, with an increasing sense of detachment, the endless loop of repeated arguments in and between parliament, the government and Brussels. The other, the real world where we are all just trying to get on with things. In the latter we had three stimulating events this week, whilst one of our most important annual events takes place next Wednesday.

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First up was Dick Elsy CBE , the CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The top line was that UK Manufacturing is in good heart and we are still the tenth largest manufacturing nation in the world and more than capable of remaining so. Jointly funded by government and industry the Catapult runs research centres across the UK across the country helping over 3000 businesses to bring new technology to the market. A key current focus is Digitalisation. Upbeat, positive.

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On Thursday D Group member Atos and hosted a session on “The Rise of a Decentralised Energy and Utilities World”. A great panel included Dermot Nolan, Chief Executive of Ofgem, and Anthony Walker, Deputy CEO of techUK. Key takeaways? First, the current energy market change neatly parallels those in telecoms twenty years ago and we should not underestimate the pace and scale of disruption. Scaling up its recent positive decarbonisation progress will need the UK to implement substantial changes to its underlying infrastructure, which will come at a cost. Finally, if we are to create a sustainable energy future it must be one that is inclusive and available to all. Much of it, such as electric vehicles, is currently price prohibitive for the less well-off.

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Next was a robust BFPG round table on China/ UK relations. This event was in part prompted by concern from BFPG’s connections across UK regional trade about a more confrontational HMG line; one based on domestic security concerns and increasingly combative noises around the UK’s defence posture in the South China Sea. One key takeaway emerged from a fascinating discussion between UK, Chinese and Asia-Pacific expert commentators, businesspeople and leading UK institutions; the need for a coherent UK policy towards China. One that recognises that firmly defending the national interest and values need not be incompatible at all with positive and consistent trade engagement. We did a D Group podcast with the ex-head of MI6 which touched on this subject. Worth a listen.

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Next week is the 10th annual BEI Awards where, with royalty, international diplomats and ministers, we will celebrate exceptional British-based achievement in landmark social and physical infrastructure around the world. If anything is Brexit-unaffected it is the unstinting engagement by our many member consultants in trade and aid around the globe. Neither a major new port in Iraq nor a post-conflict nation needing expert consultants to deploy life-changing DFID programmes are Brexit-constrained. More important, they remind us of the extraordinary impact our members have on life chances and quality of life around the globe.

We look forward to welcoming HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Baroness Fairhead and 200 guests next Wednesday.

Have a good weekend.

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 – BEI 
Simon Penney Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for the Middle East, Afghanistan & Pakistan

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 – The D Group Dinner
The Future of Transport
Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure, KPMG International

Wednesday 24th April 2019 – BEI
Key Themes for 2019: East Africa
Veronica Bolton Smith, Strategy & Development, Invest Africa

Thursday 25th April 2019 – The D Group Breakfast
Good health and what we mean by this
Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England

Thursday 25th April 2019 – BEI 
Myth Busting with DFID for SMEs 
The UK Department for International Development 

Tuesday 30th April 2019 – The D Group Lunch 
Bringing business sense to the NHS
Baroness Dido Harding, Chair, NHS Improvement  

Tuesday 30th April 2019 – BEI 
Key Themes for 2019: West Africa   
Olusegan Okubanjo, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, OBSIDIAN  


British Expertise International Awards:

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
Last few tables remaining – book here →

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 5th April

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 5th April

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Dear Members and Friends,

Another wild week in Britain’s collective political meltdown which saw a Prime Minister’s promised resignation become background noise to nightly crisis votes and a continuous stalemate on the way forward. Now the news of 10,000 riot police readying for a no-deal Brexit suggests that we may only be at the beginning of this political Greek Tragedy. Looking beyond the horse-trading in Westminster, it has been another great week here at Strategy International with discussions on the UK’s long-term plan for infrastructure, the future of defence and an update on Indonesia.

On Tuesday, The D Group hosted Sir John Armitt CBE, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission at a dinner. The NIC works to set out a long-term vision for the UK's infrastructure planning and preparing the country for its infrastructure needs in the future. Discussion was aimed around six themes of telecoms, transport, water, waste, energy and Cities. Clearly, investing and delivering major projects throughout the country will send a strong message to the rest of the world and inspire confidence. We thank Sir John for his insight into the infrastructure world of 2030 and beyond.

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On Wednesday evening we welcomed General Sir Chris Deverell to share his thoughts on the future of defence and the Joint Forces Command as he prepares to leave the Army in the summer. He reflected that we find ourselves in an age of competition, not conflict, with China increasingly prominent as both a partner and a threat to the UK’s international intentions. He drew attention to the UK’s increased presence in the Asia-Pacific, with three ships conducting manoeuvres in the South China Sea and the Army drilling with the Japanese Defence Force, as a demonstration of the type of power projection that may be increasingly important as the situation develops.

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On Thursday, we had the pleasure to welcome Dr Scott Younger OBE. Scott is Strategy International’s International Advisor for Indonesia, supporting our members in the region. During the event, Scott briefed us on the political and economic environment in Indonesia, highlighting the country’s appetite for infrastructure. Among the priorities are smart transportation systems, renewable energy and the development of urban infrastructure. With Jakarta joining the 100 Resilient Cities project, there is an increased need for incorporating resilience systems which will address issues such as inefficient public transport, flooding and chronic food and water shortages.

Good luck to those with their sweepstake on the Grand National and a restful weekend to all as we digest the happenings of this week.



Best Wishes,

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James Jones, Director of Account Management


Event highlights:

Tuesday 9th April – The D Group Lunch 
New horizons for UK manufacturing? 
Dick Elsy CBE, CEO, High Value Manufacturing Catapult

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 – BEI 
Simon Penney Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for the Middle East, Afghanistan & Pakistan

Tuesday 23rd April 2019 – The D Group Dinner
The Future of Transport
Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure, KPMG International

British Expertise International Awards:

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019
Last few tables remaining – book here →

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 29th March

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 29th March

Derrick Sanyahumbi in Manila this week leading a successful British Expertise mission to the Asian Development Bank – a full report next week.

Derrick Sanyahumbi in Manila this week leading a successful British Expertise mission to the Asian Development Bank – a full report next week.

Dear Members and Friends,

It is a beautiful sunny morning and the Brexit story still has some way to run. We have had a tremendous week and some great events but before I run through these please note:
 

  • Time is quickly running out to book your place at the BEI Annual Awards Celebration Dinner.  Held at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington on Wednesday 17 April attending this event will provide a great start to your Easter weekend.  Our Awards celebrate the best in international infrastructure and development and the event is a fantastic opportunity to meet colleagues you don’t always see and to catch up with Government stakeholders from around the world.  This year our top prize, International Business of the Year, will be a three-way battle between last year’s winner Turner & Townsend and two industry giants – Bechtel and Mott MacDonald.  Join us on the night to hear first-hand who the winner is!

  • Tuesday 26 March Lunch with His Excellency Umit Yalcinn, Ambassador Embassy of Turkey
    The Ambassador commenced his talk by describing Turkey’s Pendulum Relationship with Russia, the USA and Europe over the last 30 years. The country sits in a key geostrategic position but aligns itself very closely with Europe and NATO. The abiding principles for Turkey are that it remains Democratic, Secular and Non-Arab. Turkey will also ensure for Europe; Energy Safety, Security and the security of Israel. He also stressed how much Turkey valued the UK’s support during the last coup attempt. There is an increasingly close relationship between our 2 countries with £18.5 worth of trade between the 2 countries last year and the UK is now the 4th largest investor in Turkey. There are also some very large Infrastructure opportunities in Iraq where Turkey is planning to spend $5 Billion.

  • Wednesday 27 March Lunch with James Kirkup Director of the Social Market Foundation
    James Kirkup spoke to The D Group on the positive economic case for immigration and the political debate around the subject. As the Brexit referendum showed, it’s a topic of deep emotional resonance in modern Britain, but as James showed, when one focuses on the practical arguments, the case in favour is unequivocal. He also traced the development of Government policy on this position through the referendum campaigns to the present day to demonstrate how what was once the primary issue for Brexit has been relegated to lesser importance and the corresponding changing of attitudes to it throughout the UK.

  • Wednesday 27 March Lunch with Mohammed Nafees Zakira High Commissioner for Pakistan
    The High Commissioner hosted lunch for all British Officers who had attended the Pakistan Staff College in Quetta (the old Indian Army Staff College). I am President of the Association and we could not have been made more welcome. Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of DFID funding and there is an increasingly close relationship between our 2 countries. We stand by to assist any of our Members who wish to do business in Pakistan.

  • Thursday 28 March Breakfast with Geoff Hoon
    Despite the depressing ‘Groundhog day’ aspect of discussions around the likely direction of Brexit we restarted our Brexit Briefing series on Thursday. Geoff Hoon, variously a previous Chief Whip, Europe Minister, Secretary of State for Defence and Leader of the House, walked us through the evolving Westminster and Brussels permutations with great clarity; plus, having spent 10 years in Brussels, bringing a realistic dose of how the EU sees things and acts into a conversation that is too often overly focused on the UK’s preoccupations. We were delighted to be joined by Embassies from Asia, Latin America and Europe.

  • Thursday 28 March British Water BIM Conference
    I spoke at the British Water BIM Conference in Birmingham on Strategic Leadership along with other key speakers from the CITB, PWC and several engineering companies. Nine of our Member Companies were present and the key message was that technology and people are key to the future of the industry.

  • 26 to 29 March, 2019 ADB Business Opportunities Fair (BOF) Manila
    BEI in partnership with DIT Manila led a delegation of UK Companies on a mission to Manila, to coincide with the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) annual Business Opportunities Fair(BOF). In addition to the BOF, the delegation participated in a workshop on “Navigating Aid Funded Business”. The British Embassy in Manila also hosted a lunch at the ADB for the UK delegation with other guests. The UK Board Director at the ADB, Philip Rose and the British Embassy Deputy Head of Mission in Manila, Alastair Totty welcomed the delegation. It was a packed itinerary, with meetings covering; doing Business with ADB, an update on the ADB procurement system, opportunities by Sector, thematic opportunities and more.


As I finish this Newsletter the next Brexit vote has yet to take place and who knows what will happen. However, it is a glorious day and do not forget that the clocks go forward this weekend. It is also Mothering Sunday. Have a great weekend.


Best wishes,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event highlights:

Tuesday 2nd April – The D Group Dinner
Dinner with Sir John Armitt CBE
Sir John Armitt CBE, Chair, National Infrastructure Commission

Wednesday 3rd April – The D Group Dinner
Reflections on the future of Defence, including the strategic role that Joint Forces Command will play in that future
General Sir Chris Deverell KC MBE ADC Gen, Commander, Joint Forces Command UK

Thursday 4th April – BEI Meeting
Indonesia: Infrastructure roundtable with Scott Younger
Dr Scott Younger OBE, FICE, President Commissioner of Glendale Partners

Tuesday 9th April – The D Group Lunch
New horizons for UK manufacturing?
Dick Elsy CBE, CEO, High Value Manufacturing Catapult



Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 22nd March

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 22nd March

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Dear Members & Friends,

During a week which started with the terrible events in Christchurch and then saw Cyclone Idai devastate large parts of Southern Africa, you will forgive us passing over Brexit, notwithstanding its progressed to a whole new level of political contortion.

We are conscious that Strategy International and some of our members have a presence in the affected countries, including New Zealand, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe. UK aid has been visible in its efforts to deliver humanitarian aid but there is a long way to go. Our thoughts go out to everyone involved. Link to Cyclone Idai Appeal here →

We have had something of a Central Asian focus over the last couple of weeks. Our mission to Kyrgyzstan last week has returned after a very successful trip. One company, which attended last year’s mission and secured business, attended this time too and managed to generate significant new orders. On Tuesday, we hosted a 20-strong delegation from Uzbekistan with over 40 guests for a comprehensive update on the economy and a view of some of the many business opportunities in the country. On Thursday evening, we celebrated Nauryz, a Central Asian holiday signifying not only the spring equinox but also the renewal of nature, symbolising fertility, friendship and love. The Reception also marked final day of our art exhibition featuring contemporary art from across the region which has been so well received by the many people visiting.

The next meeting of the Turkmenistan-UK Trade and Industry Council (TUKTIC) will take place in Ashgabat on 24-26 April 2019. British Expertise are running a pre-visit briefing meeting in London, where attendees will have the opportunity to put their questions about the upcoming TUKTIC directly to the Co-Chair of TUKTIC, Ronald Nash, as well as the British Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Thorda Abbott-Watt and Head of Trade at the British Embassy, Arslan Garryyev (via video link). We would encourage you to attend this event even if you have not yet registered for TUKTIC this year - there is still time to decide.

At BEI’s invitation, we hosted the Independent Commission for Aid (ICAI)’s new chief commissioner, Dr Tamsyn Barton as she consulted with senior level participants on developing the third phase of planning ICAI’s future work. A dynamic discussion ensued, providing an invaluable opportunity for insights and suggestions from members attending.

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On Wednesday evening Adrian Gregory, CEO of our member Atos, returned to The D Group for an update on the real-world applications of A.I. Adrian’s approach was very much focused on cutting through the current hype surrounding the sector and examining the ways that automation is already being used in our everyday lives, as well as some of the ethical questions that this raises. Whether automated vehicles, image recognition technology, online translation or indeed Netflix recommendations, A.I. is already changing the lives of consumers around the world and no doubt will soon be having the same widespread effect on the business community.

I wish you all a happy weekend, and hopefully a little sunshine.

With best wishes,

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Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International


Event highlights:

Monday 25th March – British Expertise
Turkmenistan: Briefing with British Embassy ahead of TUKTIC
Ronald Nash, Co-Chair, TUKTIC
HE Thorda Abbott-Watt, British Ambassador to Turkmenistan
Arslan Garryyev, Head of International Trade, British Embassy in Ashgabat

Tuesday 26th March – The D Group Lunch
UK-Turkey Relations
H.E Ümit Yalçınn Turkish Ambassador, Embassy of Turkey, London

Wednesday 27th March – The D Group Lunch
Immigration is an economic necessity and we urgently need honest political leadership
James Kirkup, Director, The Social Market Foundation

Tuesday 2nd April – The D Group Dinner
Dinner with Sir John Armitt CBE
Sir John Armitt CBE, Chair, National Infrastructure Commission

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 15th March

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 15th March

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Dear Members & Friends,

Although I’m not a fan of inclement weather, as Storm Gareth, or Hannah depending on when you read this, gathers momentum I am grateful for the welcome diversion it provides to UK politics. Though like you I am really conscious of the sea of uncertainty and tumult it brings to the delivery of business on a daily base at the moment. In planning terms the political storm’s track is unhelpfully not clear – whether it will bring destruction or the worst veer away.

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At home in Grafton Street on Wednesday, The D Group welcomed Charles Gibbons of The Francis Crick Institute to discuss '5G'. Until very recently, Charles was the Chief Domain Architect at BT and was at the forefront of their 5G roll-out. Clearly, the applications of 5G will transform the way society operates as it allows greater penetration and coverage of data. It is not about speed as many of us thought. There was much blue sky thinking of the application of this technology and what future applications will involve. We wish Charles all the best with his new role at The Francis Crick Institute.

In a similar vein I met with Pearson, the UK education giant and new BEI member, this week. We discussed some of the possible implications of an increasingly digital approach in the classroom and what might be some of the challenges related to that. How much technological delivery should we embrace and who makes the judgement on when to draw a line? To this end we will be developing a series of events with this topic in mind and hope that many of you will join us to explore and debate a subject that impacts our own families as well as the communities many of us work with in developing parts of the world. There are potentially some really significant opportunities here as many of you know.

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Due to Parliamentary commitments, the D Group lunch with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for the Department of Transport, due to take place on Thursday was postponed. An efficient transport system based on a coherent long term plan must be an essential plank of a post- Brexit domestic policy . Whilst we work to get the SoS back we look forward to both the chair of Transport for the North in June and the DEPT of Transport Permanent Sec in September.

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At times of certain uncertainty, it is good to have something positive to look forward to. The 2019 BEI Awards Dinner is next month and certainly one such event. Our President, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester will help us present the winners their awards, assisted by Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of Export and Trade Promotion at DIT, who will deliver our keynote speech. Collaboration and positive social impact are just two key themes of the awards showcasing successful projects that straddle neighbouring countries, and overcome cultural, legal and economic differences as well as obstacles such as challenges in security, poor healthcare and immense poverty. Booking is open and we look forward to seeing you all. Last year’s event was fabulous which, we of course, are aiming to repeat and take to the next level.

Best wishes for a weekend of decent rugby and some solid R&R.

With best wishes,

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Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 20th March – The D Group
What is AI actually being used for today? – A discussion on real case studies
Adrian Gregory, CEO UK & Ireland, Atos

Thursday 21st March – Strategy International
Networking Reception: Celebrating Nauryz
Strategy International & D-Contemporary – Drinks Reception

Monday 25th March – British Expertise
Turkmenistan: Briefing with British Embassy ahead of TUKTIC
Ronald Nash, Co-Chair, TUKTIC
HE Thorda Abbott-Watt, British Ambassador to Turkmenistan
Arslan Garryyev, Head of International Trade, British Embassy in Ashgabat

Tuesday 26th March – The D Group
UK-Turkey Relations
H.E Ümit Yalçınn Turkish Ambassador, Embassy of Turkey, London

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 8th March

Strategy International | Weekly Update - 8th March

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Dear Members & Friends,

Taken during my 3 week ‘Brexit escape strategy’ in Antarctica; a suitable metaphor, I thought, for public boredom with the ‘B’ word.

Business must go on and amidst the uncertainty I’m glad to see Strategy and its members producing highly informative events. It was a very busy week.

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BEI’s Middle-East Access Group (MEAG) hosted Khaled Al Khulifah, First Secretary – Head of the Political Section at the London Embassy of Kuwait, on Tuesday. Anglo-Kuwaiti relations have been strong for many years and 2019 marks the 120th anniversary of the first treaty signed between the two countries. This treaty, kept secret at the time, was enormously significant for both countries and, according to records, was the first formal engagement ever executed between a ruler of Kuwait and the government of any country. The First Secretary brought things up to date with an overview of the strategy for New Kuwait 2035 and commented on a number of areas for collaboration and opportunity during a Q&A session.

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Cardiff University’s Dr Pete Burnap addressed key themes in the UK’s cyber-projection strategy and the important role of 17 UK universities in general, and Cardiff in particular, in combining to give the nation a high degree of protection. The main takeaways, other than Cardiff clearly being a highly relevant leader in the sector and a useful touchpoint for the membership, were a need for the constant challenges posed by cyber (and AI), not just in companies but also within their supply chains, to be represented at Excom and main board level.

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Wednesday also saw a packed launch of an exhibition of outstanding art art mainly from Central Asia. Business people and diplomats from across the region attended. BEI’s Central Asian unit combined with D Contemporary and the Britain-Kazakh Society to deliver an evening with real buzz. This followed on from a similar event for Belarus. Showcasing cultural offerings from many of the emerging countries that we deal with will be a growing part of D-Contemporary’s calendar of exhibitions.

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The retiring Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Gordon Messenger, discussed the outlook for the UK’s Armed Forces with some 20 business leaders and defence specialists. Alongside an impressive reminder of why, despite a frequent press depiction of a degraded UK defence presence, the UK with its entrenched Transatlantic relationship remains second only to the US in terms of Western defence capability, there were a number of key points for business. The main was a growing commitment to cross-cutting (across the three services) functional authorities to iron out duplications, maximise cost efficiencies and value for the taxpayer.

On Thursday morning BEI, hosted a round table discussion with a visiting team from the World Bank on Enhanced Remedies against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), a very productive and insightful engagement which brought to light some of the innovative thinking around the whole safeguarding agenda, a topic high on the DFID’s priorities. Policy and management mechanisms for GBV and other safeguarding related issues will need broad engagement with many actors, here there is an opportunity for greater collaboration to ensure global standards are established and effectively implanted.

The afternoon brought an honest and candid discussion on DFID’s “No Deal Preparations”, very welcome by BEI members who joined the meeting with Chris Carter, DFID’s Deputy Head of the EU Department. DFID reiterated their commitment to ensure that their ability to deliver essential business in a “value for money and impactful way” is maintained. There are still a lot of uncertainties for suppliers, with financial and operational risks to be managed and mitigated, but the engagement provided some useful insights and information.

The next few weeks sees a very active calendar. It is set out below.

This week also saw the publication of the second edition of our international magazine and podcast, Perspectives.

I wish you all a relaxing weekend.

Regards,

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Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 13th March – The D Group
Lunch with Charles Gibbons
Charles Gibbons, Chief IT Architect & Head of Engineering, The Francis Crick Institute

Thursday 14th March – D Group Lunch
Lunch with the Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport
The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport

Tuesday 19th March – BEI Meeting
ICAI’s Future Work Plan – a Consultation
Tamsyn Barton, ICAI Chief Commissioner

Tuesday 19th March – BEI Meeting
Uzbekistan: Meeting Senior Government Delegation
Laziz Kudratov, Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade

Tuesday 19th March – The D Group
Dinner with Barry White, CEO, Transport for the North
Barry White, CEO, Transport for the North

Wednesday 20th March – The D Group
What is AI actually being used for today? – A discussion on real case studies
Adrian Gregory, CEO UK & Ireland, Atos

Thursday 21st March – Strategy International
Networking Reception: Celebrating Nauryz
Strategy International & D-Contemporary – Drinks Reception

Monday 25th March – British Expertise
Turkmenistan: Briefing with British Embassy ahead of TUKTIC

Tuesday 26th March – The D Group
UK-Turkey Relations
H.E Ümit Yalçınn Turkish Ambassador, Embassy of Turkey, London

Tuesday 26th March – BFPG
Sheffield City Region: International Perspectives & Ambitions Post-Brexit
British Foreign Policy Group

Wednesday 27th March – The D Group
Immigration is an economic necessity and we urgently need honest political leadership
James Kirkup, Director, The Social Market Foundation



Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019