French companies gain insight into Sharjah’s investment potential
Shurooq delegation meets with head of the directorate for businesses and global economy in France The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has concluded hosting two seminars in Paris, France on May 22nd and May 23rd. The seminars, which followed closely after a two-day conference at the Paris Dauphine University, were organised by Shurooq to promote Sharjah as a prime investment hub for France and explore avenues of future collaboration. Shurooq’s delegation was led by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and included HE Marwan bin Jasim Al Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq; Amani Al Ali, Manager of the Executive Office of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi; Elie Armaly, Director of Business Development at Shurooq; Hatem Heidar, Public Relations Executive, and Maryam Bin Al Shaikh, Business Development Coordinator at Shurooq. The seminars were held in collaboration with the Chambre de Commerce Franco-Arabe and MEDEF International, in addition to IPEMED, the Euro-Mediterranean think tank, where attendees met with Shurooq and learned more about its role in Sharjah’s and Middle Eastern operations, and the different incentives and facilities Sharjah’s government entities offer to investors. This marks the second occasion Shurooq has visited France, following the Authority’s first trip to the country in March 2013. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq, inaugurated the seminars by warmly welcoming attendees as well as elucidating the shared interests and already strong bond between Sharjah and France, especially concerning their mutual respect for the cultural and economic contributions made by the two regions. Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi said, “The UAE has enjoyed excellent political, economic and social relations with France for more than four decades, and bilateral ties are constantly expanding with growing economic, cultural and artistic exchange. Ties between France and Sharjah, in particular, have resulted in promising projects in a number of areas. Our aim here today is to build on this already well-established relationship and to introduce the many advantages that Shurooq has to offer to the French business community.” Commenting on France’s rich contribution to human progress, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi added, “France is universally held to be one of the most important cultural centres in the world and His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah – who is himself an avid historian and cultural advocate – has made no secret of the high regard he holds for role France continues to play in fostering culture on the world stage.” The seminars were led by HE Marwan Al Sarkal, in which he gave a detailed overview of Shurooq and its functions, the many strategic advantages that Sharjah has to offer, Sharjah’s business climate, as well as the key investment sectors in the Emirate that have been identified as primary growth sectors to representatives from 50 different companies. The Shurooq CEO pointed to the excellent economic and cultural relations that exist between Sharjah and France and the many opportunities that are available for cooperation between their business and investment communities. Al Sarkal added that Shurooq has made it its mission to encourage and support investments by providing a range of opportunities, facilities and incentives. Al Sarkal covered extensive information and research on Sharjah’s stable economy, its ideal investment climate, its central location and connectivity, and Shurooq’s integral part in all of the above, which attracted huge interest from a number of French corporations. On conclusion of the meeting, Ms. Géraldine LEMBLE-PAVLOV, Director of MEDEF International said: “The Business Council France – United Arab Emirates of MEDEF International was extremely happy and honored to exchange with Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi and her wonderful team from Shurooq about the projects underway in Sharjah, particularly in the fields of transportation, healthcare, environmental services or education, sectors where French companies have long developed a strong expertise. I am convinced that today’s meeting will contribute to strengthen the participation of the French businesses in Sharjah’s projects and will pave the way for further and fruitful cooperation in the near future.” Hervé de Charette, President of the French Arab Chamber of Commerce, and France’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “The visit of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qassimi to France represents another milestone in the relationship between Sharjah and France. She was keen to highlight opportunities in Sharjah to French institutions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and business organizations. We also decided to continue the fruitful partnership between the French Arab Chamber of Commerce and Shurooq”. As part of its visit to France, the Shurooq delegation also met with a number of French officials to discuss possible ways of collaborations; including Jaques Meir, Head of the directorate for businesses and global economy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Moreover, Shurooq held meetings with several other companies that expressed interest in investing in Sharjah’s four key sectors: travel and leisure, transport and logistics, health, and the environment. Established in 2009, Shurooq strives to encourage investment in the Emirate of Sharjah by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world. Shurooq's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, evaluate tourism and investment related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects. In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 - FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region, in The European’s Global Banking and Finance Awards. MEDEF represents more than 750,000 member firms in France, 90 per cent of which are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 50 employees. It lobbies at the local, regional, national and EU-wide level and every year organises a number of delegations of French business leaders to explore business opportunities around the world. The organisation runs more than 135 high-level meetings each year, in Paris and abroad.