Dear Members & Friends,

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

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


A quick compendium of the week.

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

More regional reviews next year…


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


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

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


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

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

Best wishes,



Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International

Event highlights:

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

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

British Expertise International Awards:

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