Opinion

Fostering India-UK ties

William Russell | Updated on November 23, 2020 Published on November 23, 2020

There’s huge potential in the financial sector

This week I embark on a virtual visit to India as part of my role as an ambassador for the UK’s world-leading financial services sector.

The visit will focus on three aspects of huge potential growth and closer collaboration in the coming years: Supporting gender diversity in the financial service sector, fintech and sustainable finance. These will be key drivers for the acceleration of the post-pandemic global economy in the years ahead, and with that comes massive opportunity for UK and Indian investors and businesses.

Firstly, closing the gender gap and realising the full potential of women in the workforce is vital for businesses if we are to unlock the full potential of the post-pandemic global economic recovery. On November 5, the ‘UK in India’ network and over 100 partners, including a number of British and Indian businesses, launched the ‘Pledge for Progress’ campaign, a joint commitment to promote gender equality and take practical steps to tackle gender challenges.

Pledge for Progress

The ‘Pledge for Progress’ initiative aims to empower organisations and individuals to break down gender norms and together build a gender-equal society. I will be supporting this important agenda through a webinar during my visit on creating supportive workplace environments for gender diversity with leaders from the banking and insurance sectors.

When it comes to fintech and sustainable finance, the joint statement made by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the 10th UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue outlines a significant commitment towards continued work together in both areas.

In fintech, our countries are both global leaders. The commitment towards closer cooperation on payments is especially promising, while throughout my visit I’ll be meeting some of the most exciting start-ups across India — such as Kaleidofin, Niyo and Signzy — to understand how the UK can be a core part of their development and I am also particularly delighted to be supporting the FinTech Awards programme for Indian and UK Fintech entrepreneurs.

As for sustainable finance, the joint statement demonstrates that the UK and India are both close allies in the fight to green the global financial system and committed to creating the joint prosperity that a green post-pandemic recovery can provide. This will be vital with COP26 — the United Nations’ climate change conference — now less than a year away.

In particular, it sets out the aim of bringing India’s $1.4 trillion National Infrastructure Pipeline and the City of London — as the global home of green finance and long-term institutional capital — closer together.

The potential benefits of this work are huge; by leaning on the UK’s expertise as a means of mobilising capital, we can support a prosperous net zero transition for communities across India and transform lives — by providing cleaner and cheaper energy or better transport links, for example.

Together we are emerging from the pandemic and entering an ambitious new chapter in the UK-India trading relationship. We now have the opportunity to build a new and more resilient economic partnership for the future — one that harnesses the benefits of technology, works in harmony with the environment and empowers all to make the most of their talents and expertise. I hope and expect my visit to be the next step towards making that exciting vision a reality.

The writer is Lord Mayor of the

City of London

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Published on November 23, 2020
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