UAE and Saudi Arabia cement trade, investment ties with France

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The UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have strong trade and investment ties with France and have been focusing intensely on becoming the digital economies.

Bpifrance (French Public Investment Bank) and Societe Generale Middle East have partnered with Business France to bring companies to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to help advance the region’s commitment to the digital economy and innovation in urban development.

A select delegation of 12 enterprises from France are spending a week-long mission in Dubai and Riyadh meeting prospective partners in the public and private sector to better understand the local market and explore ways in which the local economies can benefit from the expertise and knowledge that has made them innovation leaders in their fields.

“The technological solutions offered by the start-ups and companies participating in this trade mission stand out as symbols of France’s innovation prowess to perfectly fit with local ecosystems,” explained Marc Cagnard, Managing Director, Business France Middle East, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy.

The theme of this mission is “Smart City”, a concept that is critical in the development of urban centres in the GCC as they seek to deliver efficient and impactful city experiences for residents and visitors.

The French corporations’ technologies and solutions are directly relevant to the industrial and infrastructure needs of the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which seek to achieve excellence in areas including transportation, infrastructure, and government services.

Richad Soundardjee, CEO, Societe Generale Middle East, said: “Societe Generale Middle East is proud, alongside our partners at Bpifrance and Business France, to bring our deep knowledge of the GCC region to promote French technology and help French SMEs deploy their products and services in a region where opportunities abound. For governments in the GCC, Smart City is not a mere slogan; it is a clear policy priority, and we are keen to help French companies succeed in this promising geography for which we ourselves have an ambitious growth strategy and as we become more entrenched in the economic dynamics of the region.”

Pedro Novo, Manager, Export Financing Department, Bpifrance, said: “This mission is typically within the scope of the activities of Bpifrance: identifying leading firms in their respective sectors and encouraging their expansion worldwide by providing a range of support including funding. Smart City is a concept that matters here in the region, and it is a great growth opportunity for French firms specialised in this field.”

The weeklong mission commenced on Sunday in Dubai, whose Smart Dubai initiative seeks to make the city the happiest on earth through technological innovation in six areas: Smart Economy, Smart Living, Smart Governance, Smart Environment, Smart People and Smart Mobility.

The delegation will also spend time in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, which is transforming towards becoming a digital economy and is investing heavily in four Economic Cities under the principles of smart city planning as part of its Vision 2030.

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