Back from the Brave New Middle East, by Anne Baer
Last week was like a fairy tale. The French Foreign Trade Advisors committees from all the Middle east region conveyed in Dubai, gathering the country managers of all the French industry flagships with all the economic diplomats. We were 150 participants, and for the first time the Israeli committee was represented. Thanks to the Abraham Accords signed in 2020 with the UAE and Bahrein, Israel is officially on the map of this "Brave New Middle East".
Amongst other issues, as the chair of the Israeli Committee, I was able to present my vision of the challenges and opportunities it creates for French players from the Defense, Cyber, IT, Telecom, Food, Agriculture and Health industry. Having the Israeli products and solutions in town now maybe challenging. Israeli companies are new partners one can join forces with. They need to triangle with foreign entities to introduce them to the Gulf best practices and business culture.
Meeting with my fellow CCE who came from Lebanon, Jordan, Katar, Koweit, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or farer Morocco was a first, and I really hope to keep the momentum and bring on board all the members of our committees to study potential collaborations.
We had the chance to visit the French and Israeli pavilions at Expo 2020, and I came back to experience many more the day after. On every country booth I visited, I saw the same leitmotiv -three injonctions to the world: UNITY, SUSTAINABILITY and INNOVATION. This is precisely where I stand and what we work for. See for yourself.
With Eric Sayettat, French Economic Counselor in Tel-Aviv and Isabelle Aimonetti, Communications Advisor for the CNCCEF
Every nation visiting the universal expo was invited for the 1st light of Hanukka at the Israeli booth.
I visited at the Expo, the UAE pavilion where two days earlier, the governments of Jordan, Israel and the United Arab Emirates had signed an historical declaration of intent to swap renewable electricity for desalinated water. The signatories Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, Mohammad Al-Najjar, Jordan’s Minister of Water and Irrigation, and Karine Elharrar, Israel’s Energy Minister were witnessed by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change and John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
In the twofold agreement, Prosperity Green plans for solar photovoltaic plants generating capacity of 600 MW to be built in Jordan, with all clean power produced to be exported to Israel, while Prosperity Blue, is a sustainable water desalination program to be built in Israel to supply Jordan with up to 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water.
At Expo 2020, most of the Arab nations outlined their traditions, outputs to the world, vision for the future. Here, Saudi Arabia.
Below, a few more highlights of my trip! Enjoy!
The entrance to Saudi Arabia's Pavilion
Anne Baer, CEO of iKare Innovation with Frédéric Szabo, Business France Manager MENA
The Israel Pavilion (left) and Saudia Arabia's (right)