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Africa Forum / France / Japan: New actors
16 mai 2014
Africa has become a new frontier perceived, if not as an unavoidable, as a possible growth driver in the strategy of the world’s companies. The CCI Paris Île-de-France and the Franco-Japanese Trade Committee organized this Forum around 220 African, French and Japanese business leaders. Pierre-Antoine Gailly, President of the ICC, called for a tripartite partnership so that French and Japanese companies could pool their assets to support the development of Africa, now the second largest growth pole in the world after Asia.
For Japan’s Ambassador, HEM Yoichi Suzuki, the Japanese development model includes useful lessons for Africa, in particular the fundamental role of vocational training: Japan has committed itself to train 1000 African students in its universities, including internships in companies. Japan and France, whose actions are long-term, have very promising areas of cooperation in this field as well as in infrastructure. The success of Mitsui’s Japanese partnership with GDF-Suez in Morocco and South Africa in the field of energy was also mentioned, thus allowing better risk management for everyone.
During the debates, Lionel Zinsou, President of PAI Partners, considered that there is still a delay in France in looking at change in Africa compared to emerging investors, while Africa’s potential is unlimited. He cites Nigeria’s trajectory, which clearly shows that Africa is no longer the continent of « long time ». Measuring how far companies have come in their perception of Africa, Louis Schweitzer, Commissioner General for Investment, noted that a forum of this magnitude could never have been organised ten years ago. A few days later, in the French Senate, on June 10, the France-China interparliamentary group also discussed the « Franco-Chinese partnership, a textbook case for economic diplomacy ». On several occasions and in particular by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the African continent has been mentioned as the privileged field of Sino-French cooperation.
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