Dear all,

A wide range of engagement this week.


The geopolitical situation in the Horn of Africa and adjacent territories and its implications for trade, aid and security was the subject of a hugely informative discussion with Meredith Preston-McGhee of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. We were delighted to be joined by representatives of The Stabilisation Fund alongside a mix of D Group and BEI members. Much of the focus of the meeting was around the key pivot for the region, water; notably the centuries old thorny matter of damming and extraction from the Nile.

Which leads seamlessly on to congratulating British Water on a very successful and packed annual reception at the House of Lords. We joined a number of D Group and BEI members at a timely reminder for HMG just how much insight and expertise specialist bodies can bring to the push to grow Trade. Certainly, whenever we travel internationally, water quality is a frequent, top- billing issue for governments and the expertise Britain has in this field widely recognised. 


Meanwhile, a little to the East, a heavyweight Japanese delegation visited Number 10, including valued members of D Group’s own Brexit working group. Whilst many in Strategy do not agree with the tone of how the CBI and other bodies are challenging the Brexit vote there is undoubtedly a pressing need for clarity. The majority member sentiment here can be summed up as disappointment at the vote to leave, acceptance as democrats of its three key points (make our own laws, control our own borders and determine our own global trade) and a desire to stop endlessly re-fighting the vote and just get on with it. Within those parameters there is, of course, active focus on as little disruption to trade with the EU as possible. The need for leadership is the overwhelming ‘ask’. Compulsory viewing of The Darkest Hour is recommended .......


Behind another very important shiny black door the D Group’s CEO discussion group, the Peer Working Group, met, as it does regularly, to pool its considerable cross-sector and managerial experience to support and assist its members in their own work. The PWG works in pods of 8-10 and if you’d like to know more please contact me (


Next week sees another in our continuing series of engagements with the growing list of combined authorities and major cities in the UK. Susan Hinchcliffe of The West Yorkshire combined authority visits. Later this year The D Group hits the road with its members visiting leadership bodies and leading local businesses in Newcastle, Sheffield, Teeside and, we hope, a couple more, including Leeds. Please contact if you are interested to learn more.


With best regards,


Peter O'Kane - Executive Chairman, Strategy International

Event highlights:

Friday 2nd March – BEI Lunch
Tunisia Business Opportunities
H.E Mrs Louise de Sousa, British Ambassador to Tunisia
Mr Mehdi Ben Abdallah, President of the Tunisian British Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday 6th March – The D Group Lunch
Is Labour the new one nation party?
Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica

Thursday 15th March – The D Group Lunch
Social Mobility
The Rt Hon Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions