• December 18, 2018
  • Newsletter

The old Chinese adage of ‘may you live in interesting times’ certainly rang true for the UK international development consultancy sector in 2018. We had to deal with the potential and early consequences of Brexit on European Commission contract awards and the implications of meeting DFID’s new terms and conditions. But the term interesting can be used to describe two types of situations; the challenging as well as those filled with potential. For Nathan, its interesting year was primarily filled with events that offer the potential for change and growth.

An upcoming change will be the promotion of Eamon Cassidy, the current head of Trade in London. Eamon will take up the post of Managing Director of the London office effective January 1, 2019. Eamon will be taking over the reins from Mark Thomas who will be moving into a more global strategic-wide corporate role employing his expert agricultural skills and knowledge to expand upon Nathan’s agribusiness portfolio. A formal press release will be published early in the New Year.

A priority for Nathan this year was the expansion of its international and regional trade practice out of the US and the building of a trade portfolio designed and managed by the London office. Headed by Eamon Cassidy, the London arm of the trade practice has got off to a flying start. It secured contracts from a number of leading trade institutions, such as from the World Trade Organisation to conduct an external evaluation of the Standard and Trade Development Facility (STDF). The STDF supports developing countries with the implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Nathan is also part of the winning consortium for the UK’s Prosperity Fund’s South East Asia Economic Reform Programme catalysing prosperity in the region through reform of the business environment and financial and business services.

Nathan’s US trade portfolio has also continued to grow with a number of new contracts. One such contract is USAID’s $24 million 5 years programme, US Support for Economic Growth in Asia. It will promote inclusive economic growth policies and best practices in trade, market systems development, access to finance and women’ economic empowerment.

Another exciting development this year has been the ramp-up of Nathan’s global profile, through its new marketing and communications strategy. It was kicked off by the launch of the new Nathan website in March 2018 followed by the recruitment of Trevor Eade, an award-winning marketing, communications and brand expert, as Vice President of Corporate Communications. As part of the communications campaign, Nathan increased its sharing of lessons and best practice, derived from its programmes, at international fora.

One such forum was the 2018 SEEP Annual Conference: Collaboration for Impact in October. Nathan was a conference partner as well as the host of 2-panel discussions on the theme of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE). The panels discussed advances in the understanding of how to promote women’s economic empowerment and the next frontier of action and how to measure the impact of women’s empowerment through savings groups.

The SEEP conference showcased to a global audience Nathan’s increasing convening power and thought leadership on WEE. Nathan has put at the core of its’ work on international development a commitment to strengthen conditions for WEE, through the promotion of gender equality, at the workplace and in the home. It does this by embedding gender considerations into all its work on economic development and through dedicated programmes to increase women’s workforce participation. Using evidence, research, and analysis drawn from its programmes, Nathan’s stature as a thought leader on WEE is growing. It is particularly forging a reputation for integrating gender into non-traditional sectors; trade, transport, women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and energy.

Key to Nathan’s WEE work is rigorous data. Nathan uses data to, build frameworks that assess women’s ability to participate in the marketplace and monitor their progress, and to designs tools that identify barriers to women’s economic empowerment. An example of such a tool is Nathan’s Women and the Economy Dashboard. It assembles 82 indicators on the economic status of women in APEC’s 21-member economies covering issues such as access to capital and assets, access to markets, skill, leadership and innovation, and technology.

Nathan has employed research and data tools to analyse underrepresentation of women in critical sectors for economic growth. In Cote D’Ivoire it is assessing the constraints and opportunities for women to participate in cross-border trade for the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Compact programme. In October, Nathan produced a well-received research paper on Women at Work which identifies the legal and regulatory barriers and opportunities to Women’s Wage Employment in the ASEAN Member States.

Looking back across 2018, Nathan’s new developments in leadership, trade, WEE, and corporate communications is taking the company into a new era. A new era where Nathan is more connected to the global community working on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has more presence at international fora sharing its’ knowledge and insights. A new era where it is advancing thinking, policy, and practice on some of the most complex SDGs, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Partnerships for the Goals, through its growing portfolio of trade and WEE programmes.

We are sure 2019 will be as interesting for Nathan as 2018.

Geraldine Murphy

All Insights