Category: Trade

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethiopia and Djibouti

Lord Sheikh is a Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The APPG for Ethiopia and Djibouti held a meeting on Wednesday 26th February. The Ethiopian Ambassador H.E. Mr Fesseha Shawel Gebre was in attendance and gave a short update to the Group and talked about the forthcoming General Elections and the reforms which have occurred under the premiership of Mr Abiy Ahmed. Lord Sheikh made the point that as now the UK has come out of the EU, more trade should be established with Ethiopia. The country has many opportunities for trade and investment and the UK should seek to increase and strengthen its economic ties with the country.

The meeting was productive and the Group engaged in interesting conversations.

The picture shows Lord Sheikh, His Excellency Mr Fesseha Shawel Gebre and Mr Laurence Robertson MP Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Sri Lanka: 2020 and Beyond

Lord Sheikh hosted a meeting in the House of Lords titled: ‘Sri Lanka: 2020 and Beyond’.

Lord Sheikh had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Ajith Nivard Cabraal as keynote speaker at the meeting. Mr Cabraal is the Economic Adviser to Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Mahinda Rajapaksa MP. He was also previously the Governor of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank for over nine years and was indeed well-placed to discuss the  opportunities for trade and investment in Sri Lanka for 2020 and beyond. He gave an overview of the current economic and social climate in Sri Lanka and spoke of positive developments in Sri Lanka which have, and will improve the lives of Sri Lankans and will encourage investment in the country.

Lord Sheikh spoke of his friendship with Sri Lanka and the many opportunities Sri Lanka has in terms of: trade, investment, tourism and education. He spoke from personal knowledge he gained from his visits to Sri Lanka and illustrated the good work Sri Lanka has undertaken in efforts to reconcile and rebuild. He also noted that communities within Sri Lanka as well as the diaspora should all get together, unite and be peaceful.

The meeting was also addressed by Her Excellency Manisha Manisha Gunasekera the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and Mr John Rajan Yorke who is the Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka.

The meeting was well attended by Members of Parliament, Peers, and leaders of industry and the diaspora who all engaged in a Q&A discussion after the speeches were made.

Dinner with Sri Lanka Economic Advisor Mr Ajith Nivard Cabraal

Lord and Lady Sheikh hosted a dinner in the Peers Dning Room in the House of Lords for Mr Ajith Nivard Cabraal. Mr Cabraal was in attendance alongside his wife Mrs Roshini Cabraal. Also in attendance were Her Excellency Manisha Manisha Gunasekera the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Mr Samantha Pathirana the Deputy High Commissioner, Mr John Rajan Yorke the Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka and Mr Amal Abeyawardene Director of the Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka.

The dinner preluded the meeting held the following morning in the House of Lords titled: ‘Sri Lanka: 2020 and Beyond’ where Lord Sheikh had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Ajith Nivard Cabraal as keynote speaker.

Second Afghanistan-UK Business Conference

Lord Sheikh attended and spoke at the Second Afghanistan-UK Business Conference held in London on Monday 14th October 2019.

The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the United Kingdom organised the conference in cooperation with International Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan and International Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom. The conference was a unique platform for networking and to strengthen the trade links between Afghanistan and the UK, especially British investment in Afghanistan.

The conference was very well attended.

Lord Sheikh spoke on the subjects of banking and insurance. He referred to the bilateral trade relationships between the UK and Afghanistan and spoke on the development and establishment of Islamic Finance and Insurance activities in Afghanistan.

Lord Sheikh spoke of his background in the financial services and noted the good relationship the UK has with Afghanistan. He encouraged attendees to support Afghan trade, especially in light of Brexit. He appreciated that more needs to be done to encourage a strong business environment in Afghanistan and improve issues relating to security.

Lord Sheikh advised that he co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance in the British Parliament which is a robust Group with a lot of support. He also stated that London has the largest Islamic finance market outside the Muslim world and has assets of Islamic finance which exceed $20 billion. Therefore, the UK can play a vital role in the establishment and expansion of these activities in Afghanistan in a number of ways.

Lord Sheikh concluded by stating that he hopes that the conference will be productive and that the UK and Afghanistan can work together to promote more business activities in all walks of life and attract investments into Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka Investment Forum 2019

Lord Sheikh attended the Sri Lanka Investment Forum held at the London Stock Exchange as a Special Guest.

The keynote speaker at the Forum was the Hon. Dr Harsha de Silva, Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution.

He spoke about the multitude of investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and the government’s investment policy regime, incentives, tax concessions and regulations. The Investment Forum specifically targeted British companies interested in investing in Sri Lanka and considering joint venture partnerships with Sri Lankan companies.

Lord Sheikh is a friend of Sri Lanka and has visited the country three times. He does play whatever role he can in establishing a stronger relationship between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka and is actively involved in promoting links relating to trade, education, political and cultural ties.

He also attends a number of functions organised by the High Commission and the diaspora. In October, he was very pleased to receive the award for being an Outstanding Friend to the British Sri Lankan Community by the British Sri Lankan Association.

  

Lord Sheikh’s Visit to Tajikistan

Lord Sheikh visited Tajikistan between 16th to 21st September 2019 at the invitation of His Excellency Mr Masud Khalifazoda the Ambassador of Tajikistan to the United Kingdom. Lord Sheikh had the pleasure of staying at the residence of His Excellency Mr Matthew Lawson the British Ambassador to Tajikistan during his visit.

The purpose of the visit was to find out more about the current situation in Tajikistan and to strengthen political, trade, educational and cultural ties between the UK and Tajikistan. It was primarily a fact-finding mission and Lord Sheikh had the intention of observing and exploring the social and economic factors in the country. He wanted to meet and talk to people, ascertain the situation and make representations to government departments.

To read Lord Sheikh’s summary report from his visit to Tajikistan, please click on the following link: 2020-01-06 – Report – Lord Sheikh Tajikistan Visit 16-21 September. This report was sent to all the relevant persons in the UK, Tajikistan and other countries.

During his visit, Lord Sheikh had a full schedule of engagements. His engagements included the following:

Meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan Muzaffar Huseynzoda.

Meeting with the Rector of Tajik Technical University Mr Haydar Odinazoda.

 

The Main Directorate of the State Fire Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan together with the British Embassy in Dushanbe, FireAid, Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid, Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport and the Young Generation of Tajikistan NGO hosted a joint ceremony to officially hand over two fire engines and fire appliances to Tajikistan’s State Fire Service.

Lord Sheikh attended and spoke at the ceremony alongside the Head of the State Fire Service of MIA Major-General Nozimjon Ibrohimzoda, British Ambassador His Excellency Matthew Lawson and the representatives of other partner organisations. During his speech, Lord Sheikh noted the importance of building up the resilience of Tajik firefighters and rescuers so that they could effectively respond to fire cases and traffic accidents in Tajikistan.

Since 2015, with the help of the Fire Aid project, the State Fire Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan have received 6 fire engines, 1 ambulance car and a specialized vehicle for carrying out road accident operations.

 

Lord Sheikh and His Excellency Matthew Lawson spoke at the plenary session of the International GCRF Conference “Tajikistan and Cultural Diplomacy in Central Asia and Eurasia”.  Lord Sheikh highlighted the importance of education for building prosperity in the country. Responding to the questions from the audience, His Excellency Matthew Lawson noted that helping Tajikistan build its resilience is the cornerstone of UK Government’s mission in Tajikistan.

Lord Sheikh’s meeting with Mr Numon Abdugafforzoda, the Chairman of The Committee for Tourism Development under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan.

 

Lord Sheikh’s meeting with Mr Kozidavlat Koimdodov, AKDN Representative in Tajikistan.

 

Lord Sheikh’s meeting with the representatives of the Sughd Free Economic Zone (FEZ). Established in 2008 in a highly favorable location, the Sughd FEZ offers 320 hectares of land and a number of incentives for enterprises.

 

During his visit to the Sughd region, Lord Sheikh participated in the official opening of the 14th UNICEF Tajikistan’s Adolescent Innovation Lab.

 

Lord Sheikh was pleased to meet with active social entrepreneurs in Khujand to listen to their success stories.

 

 

 

 

 

British-Uzbek Relations: New Opportunities Forum

Lord Sheikh spoke on a panel at the British-Uzbek Relations: New Opportunities forum in May 2019.

Lord Sheikh outlined his own experiences in Uzbekistan to date and stated how he thinks that changes in both Uzbekistan and the UK might support new opportunities for interaction between both sides.

Lord Sheikh has visited Uzbekistan four times over the last three years. He has attended meetings with the leaders of the country and in fact was asked to be an observer at the 2016 presidential elections. He has prepared reports on various subjects regarding the country. In view of Lord Sheikh’s knowledge of Uzbekistan, he noted the significant reforms made in the country and its potential. He stated that the UK should improve its ties with Uzbekistan relating to political, economic, educational and cultural links.

 

 

 

 

Meeting on Uganda in the House of Lords

Lord Sheikh hosted a meeting on behalf of the Conservative Foreign and Commonwealth Council to talk on the Pearl of Africa (Uganda).

The meeting was very well attended. Parliamentarians including Pauline Latham MP, Lord Popat and various members of the community attended. His Excellency Mr Julius Peter Moto, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda, was Chief Guest at the meeting and spoke at the event.

The meeting sought to talk about and promote the good stories of Uganda.

Lord Sheikh spoke on his own personal relationship with Uganda, the present environment in Uganda, the UK’s historical and current relationship with Uganda as well as trade between the UK and Uganda.

The below pictures show Lord Sheikh presenting His Excellency Mr Julius Peter Moto, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda, on behalf of the Council.

 

Developing Markets Associates UK-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum

Lord Sheikh attended and spoke at the UK-Nigeria Trade and Investment Forum organised by Developing Markets Associates (DMA) in April 2018.

DMA is a multi-service development consultancy. Incorporated in 2007, the company was established to ‘help money flow into the world’s emerging economies’ through a number of vehicles including investment summits for sovereign governments, through reducing the costs of international remittances and through deepening financial inclusion in emerging economies.

During his speech, Lord Sheikh advocated for more bilateral trade between the UK and Nigeria. Lord Sheikh has spoken on the subject of trade with Africa and Commonwealth countries in the House of Lords and at various other events. He noted that  the UK is looking to trade more with Africa and the Commonwealth and stated that he is  very glad that Nigeria is a part of the Commonwealth and that they should have a leading role in the CHOGM discussions.

 

Developing Markets Associates UK-Papua New Guinea Trade and Investment Forum

Lord Sheikh chaired the UK-Papua New Guinea Trade and Investment Forum organised by Developing Markets Associates (DMA) in April 2018.

DMA is a multi-service development consultancy. Incorporated in 2007, the company was established to ‘help money flow into the world’s emerging economies’ through a number of vehicles including investment summits for sovereign governments, through reducing the costs of international remittances and through deepening financial inclusion in emerging economies.

In his speech, Lord Sheikh advocated for more bilateral trade between the UK and Papua New Guinea. Lord Sheikh has spoken about trade with Commonwealth countries in the House of Lords several times and at other meetings. Lord Sheikh made remarks about the trade and investment statistics between the UK and Papua New Guinea and the potential for increased trade in terms of industries including renewable energy and those of natural gas and crude oil. Lord Sheikh cited that he hopes that the conference could contribute to more business being undertaken with and in the country.