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Marseille wants to become the advanced base for exports to Africa for Europe and France


Written by Marie-Cécile Audibert on Tuesday, February 15th 2022 à 16:35 | Read 171 times



Renaud Muselier and Franck Riester agree to make Marseille the hub to Africa for France and Europe (photo: F.Dubessy)
Renaud Muselier and Franck Riester agree to make Marseille the hub to Africa for France and Europe (photo: F.Dubessy)
FRANCE / AFRICA. "There is a desire for France all over the world, especially in Africa," says Franck Riester. In Marseille on Tuesday 15 February 2022, the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, responsible for Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, reiterated that "Africa is the future of Europe and Europe is the future of Africa".

Speaking at the "Relance Export Tour Afrique" event, following on from the New Africa-France Summit (Montpellier, 8 October 2021), he wanted to present to entrepreneurs, particularly from the diaspora, the tools available to them to help them in their international approach to the African continent. And he insisted on "the considerable possibilities of the Bouches-du-Rhône and Marseille territory to enter into a win/win partnership by relying on entrepreneurs from the diaspora and all those with experience in Africa. We must make this region the advanced base on Africa for Europe and for France.

Renaud Muselier confirms: "Our ambition is to make the Southern Region and Marseille a hub towards Africa and the Mediterranean and to help our companies to establish themselves there. For the President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, "this region has an opportunity to seize because of its geostrategic position and its know-how."

"Going to Africa with ambition"

Team France Export stopped off in Marseille to talk about Africa (photo: F.Dubessy)
Team France Export stopped off in Marseille to talk about Africa (photo: F.Dubessy)
"Going to Africa is no more risky than going to the USA. Going there is vital, we have no choice. But you have to love Africa and go there with ambition. Not to start with a country just to do a few contracts, but to have a three or five year plan for several countries," emphasises Pedro Novo, executive director in charge of exports at Bpifrance. "French engineering exists and allows us to bring the continent within the reach of entrepreneurs," he continues. Calling himself an "Afro-optimist", Axel Baroux, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa at Business France, said that "the image of Africa as a backward country is false". Before pointing out, "we are in a logic of co-construction and we are no longer the only ones interested", and giving two significant figures: "In 2000, France had a 10% market share in Africa. Today, we are only at 4%". For Yves Delafon, president of Africalink, "Africa has many partners, which it did not have before. It now has a choice. We have only one Africa."

According to Didier Parakian, vice-president, delegated to international relations of the Metropolis of Aix Marseille Provence, "companies must go international or die. We are condemned to go international to develop". And he points in the direction: "we have here the largest number of French companies with subsidiaries in Africa and a diaspora of 300,000 people."
 

A mentoring programme to go to Africa

Exporters from Provence will benefit from €20 million to help them in their international efforts (photo: F.Dubessy)
Exporters from Provence will benefit from €20 million to help them in their international efforts (photo: F.Dubessy)
In the Phocaean city, Franck Riester unveiled a new "mentoring for business in Africa" (MBA) programme. Aimed at accelerating the success of French entrepreneurs in Africa, it offers entrepreneurs aged between eighteen and forty-five with a turnover of at least €100,000, a one-year mentoring programme, for a minimum of two hours a week, provided by volunteer company managers who are specialists in business on the African continent. A monthly follow-up will be carried out by a referent.

"It's a way of returning the favour," says Karim Ait Talb, Managing Director of Advens Géocoton and President of Station A (A for Africa), a new structure dedicated to impact entrepreneurs and oriented towards Africa, which carries the MBA. "Registration can be done on our website to receive a file. We are launching applications today for a closing date of 15 April 2022. A committee composed of personalities will make the selection," he said.

On the sidelines of this meeting, the State and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region unveiled a €20 million envelope, managed by the Team France Export Région Sud, to support more than 2,600 companies in their exports.



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