The ‘Qatar-France Business and Investment Forum’, which starts Sunday, “is setting a precedent in Qatar” and aims, for the French counterpart, at increasing visibility on its offer and at offering Qatari partners broader business and investment opportunities with France, French ambassador Franck Gellet has said.
The forum, which runs until November 26 at the W Doha, will bring for the first time a delegation of 60 leaders of major French groups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), specialising in the fields of agriculture and agro-food processes, logistics, new technologies, healthcare, and services to discuss new export and investment opportunities.
“The objective of this two-day event is to create new partnerships in a wide range of fields, including agriculture and food production, logistics, health, and Information and Communication Technologies, and thereby strengthen the business and investment relations between our two countries.
“We have decided to organise this forum to show our Qatari partners that France is front and centre in Qatar. Our country has major industries and many innovative and creative business solutions to offer. We also wish to highlight to big groups and French SMEs that Qatar is a country of constant new opportunities,” Gellet told Gulf Times in an interview.
Gellet said the forum also aims to attract Qatari FDI inflows to France, which, according to the ambassador, is the top European destination for industry and logistics foreign direct investments.
France is also the home of the world’s biggest startup campus, ‘Station F’, which opened in Paris in 2017. This year, Gellet said global companies, such as Toyota, IBM, and Google have announced new investments in France.
“France is attractive for foreign investment as it has never been before. France is the seventh world economy, and one of the largest domestic markets in Europe. It represents, by her geographical position and the high quality of her infrastructures, the best gateway to, not only Europe and its 500mn inhabitants, but also to the Middle East and Africa, hardly more distant.
“France also benefits from a historical recognition in terms of R&D, but also in terms of industrial know-how, offering an asset of more than 1mn engineers, perfectly trained and prepared to benefit from the ongoing digital revolution. France is, indeed, a land of innovation with nearly 10,000 startups and 300 incubators,” Gellet explained.
The ambassador said France offers a cost-competitive and stable business environment for investment opportunities, adding that the reforms undertaken by the government for more than a year “are already bearing fruit.”
“Eighty five percent of economic decision makers consider France as an attractive destination. Key reforms are implemented in order to reduce labour cost, to support employment, and to boost growth,” Gellet said.