UAE. Members of the French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates (FBC) are looking more closely at business opportunities in Kuwait, following a meeting in Dubai led by the French Ambassador to Kuwait, Her Excellency, Mrs Nada Yafi, and the French Embassy’s Economic Counsellor, in which the strong economic recovery and major public sector investments were highlighted. The meeting, hosted at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dubai Media City, attracted more than 40 FBC members.
According to the Ambassador, the time is right to ‘rediscover Kuwait’ as the country embarks on a new wave of infrastructure development.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, the French Ambassador to Kuwait (and former French Consul General of Dubai) stressed the strong links between Kuwait and France and the positive reputation of France amongst Kuwaitis: “I came to the UAE and Dubai, where I had the honour of serving as the Consul General of France, to draw the attention of French businessmen here to the commercial opportunities in Kuwait, across a range of sectors,” said Mrs Nada Yafi.
“The Kuwait economy is recovering after a period of recession and the new five-year plan for 2010-2014 includes a budget of USD127 billion with the emphasis on infrastructure development. The French presence in Kuwait is growing steadily and this is underpinned by a growing French speaking community and a number of Francophiles amongst the country’s leadership.”
The Ambassador highlighted the emerging role of Kuwait, with the normalisation of the region, as the hub between the Near East and the Gulf. The Ambassador was accompanied on the UAE visit by the Economic Counsellor at the French Embassy in Kuwait, who presented the FBC members with the current and forecast economic indicators in Kuwait.
“There is a very good opportunity in Kuwait for French business, which is not yet fully exploiting this dynamic market,” added Nada Yafi. “We came to Dubai because of the FBC and the concentration of French businesses here serving the local and regional markets. Kuwait is very close to Dubai – only a one-hour flight away - and I am encouraging French business people to visit Kuwait and see the opportunities for themselves.”
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) based on a recent visit to Kuwait, Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2011 is estimated at around 8.2 percent and is expected at around 6.6% in 2012, supported by a 15 percent increase in oil production. The IMF Executive Board Assessment stated that the economic outlook for 2012 is broadly positive. Economic recovery is expected to strengthen, led by high government expenditure--particularly wages and capital expenditure.
Madame Isabelle Leroy, Director of the French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates, added:” The Kuwait opportunity is of real interest to a broad range of French businesses including utilities and power generation, renewable energy, transportation, healthcare, food and luxury brands, and the country’s development plan is creating opportunities for the building and construction sector. Many of our members are with businesses operating regionally from a base in Dubai and we aim to highlight opportunities across the region – the response to the Kuwait event and the market opportunity was very positive.”
Photo: HE Mrs Nada Yafi, French Ambassador to Kuwait
About the French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates
The French Business Council of Dubai & the Northern Emirates (FBC) was formed in 1987 and is a non profit association under UAE law with over 500 members. It was created to promote business relationships and increase economic and business relations between France and Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
The FBC provides business support and recruitment services to French companies and businesspeople, with a full time team of seven staff and an Executive Committee of 12 elected board members.
For more information, please visit www.fbcdubai.com