On his visit to the United Arab Emirates, on 24th and 25th November, 2020, His Excellency Mr. Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, stated France’s commitment to enhance and renew its strategic partnership with the United Arab Emirates.
The visit gave him the opportunity to meet with numerous high-level Emirati officials both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in order to strengthen the bilateral economic relationship, to follow up on joint projects and to explore new areas of cooperation.
In Abu Dhabi, he met with H.E. Ahmad El Sayegh, Minister of State and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), to discuss bilateral cooperation in the fields of tech and finance. The minister took the opportunity of his visit to ADGM to discuss with French companies which have established subsidiaries in the financial center.
In Dubai, Mr. Franck Riester met with H.E. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises. They discussed bilateral trade opportunities and business cooperation in sectors such as artificial intelligence, energy and aviation.
The French Minister Delegate also held fruitful discussions with H.E. Matar Al Tayer, Director General of RTA. “Transport is a key sector of cooperation between France and its UAE partners. Our two countries are determined to bring together their talents to work on efficient, safe and sustainable transportation means” said Mr. Franck Riester.
Mr Franck Riester deeply thanked H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports and of the Emirates Group, for his action encouraging UAE-France frendship and the shared economic development of our two countries.
The French Minister also paid a visit to the Expo 2020 site where he was briefed by Omar Shehadeh, Chief International Participants Officer. On this occasion, Franck Riester declared: "I look forward to visiting Dubai Expo next year. We all do. I am very impressed by the commitment of the UAE authorities to make it one of the main international events of the post Covid-19 era. I am confident that France will make the best of this opportunity to showcase French know-how and talents in all fields”.
He also visited the Dubai Future Foundation where he met with young French expatriates based in the UAE. He praised the dynamism and the innovative spirit of the French community, the first in the Gulf.
In Sharjah, Mr. Franck Riester commended the steady progress made by French company CNIM in building a waste-to-energy plant, a first of its kind in the UAE. He also took the opportunity of his visit to the construction site to thank all the local stakeholders, including Masdar, Bee’ah and SEWA, for their strong support for the project. Once in operation, the plant will bring 30 MW of sustainable electricity to 28,000 households, while diverting 300,000t of residual waste a year from UAE’s landfills, over an estimated operational life of 30 years.
With nearly $ 5,7Bn in bilateral trade, the UAE are the second largest client and the third supplier of France in the MENA region. France is also one of the largest foreign investors in the country. The UAE are home to more than 600 subsidiaries of French companies operating in all major sectors of the Emirati economy and employing more than 30 000 people. France is also one of the main investment destinations in Europe of UAE’ sovereign wealth funds. In February, Mubadala announced a €1bn investment in BPIFrance Silver Lake Fund, which will take long term minority participations in the CAC40 companies.
France and the UAE are maintaining a close and continuous dialogue on a wide range of regional and international issues. “France and the UAE can take pride in what they have accomplished together so far. Our partnership has always been driven by a long term vision. This is why our two countries endorsed, last June, a bilateral roadmap for the new decade of their strategic partnership. France is actively working on the post-Covid era and the challenges to come. The UAE are a key partner in this ambition and I am glad to see that many innovative achievements are ahead of us”, said Riester.
This visit is part of a regional tour aiming at pursuing the efforts of explanation and appeasement initiated by the President of the Republic and by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs in response to the campaign directed against France these last weeks. Mr. Franck Riester stated: “Through the recent attacks, it is France, its values and principles - which constitute the history and essence of our Republic - that have been targeted. We will never give in”. The Minister Delegate added: “France is fighting against radical extremism and separatism, alongside the Muslims of France, who are a core part of the French Republic. In France, there is only one community: the national community”.
Finally, Mr. Franck Riester commended the support of the UAE: “Together with its partners of all beliefs or religions, France fights obscurantism, fanaticism and violent extremism. I want to take this opportunity to warmly thank our UAE partners for their key support in these troubled times, as our two countries share the same determination to put an end to separatism and terrorism”./.
- Visit of Franck Riester to the UAE - Press release
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