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Dear Members and friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As ever,

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Seumas Kerr CBE - Managing Director, The D Group


Event highlights:

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

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

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