The economic Francophonie meets in Paris
A look back at the first Meeting of Francophone Entrepreneurs
A meeting of the economic Francophonie which aimed, according to the organisers, "to seal a unique Francophone business community in the world".
Indeed, the summer university of the Medef (Mouvement des entreprises de France), renamed "La Rencontre des Entrepreneurs de France" (REF), which took place from 24 to 27 August, was open this year for the first time to the international community over two days entirely devoted to entrepreneurs from French-speaking countries. The event brought together no less than 27 French-speaking employers' organisations and more than 550 businessmen and women of 31 nationalities, including the President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina and the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire, Patrick Achi.
In the opening speech of this unique event, Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, president of the Medef, set the tone for this unifying meeting: "The European Union was born of an economic project. The Commonwealth is playing the same card on a global level for the Anglo-Saxon sphere. The Francophonie can, and must, take the same approach.
The International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) is 88 states and governments with a total of 300 million inhabitants, accounting for 16% of the world's GDP, with an average growth rate of 7%.
More than a cultural issue, France would like to make the Francophonie an economic and strategic lever with the African continent as its pivotal point, the most dynamic geographical area of the Francophonie in terms of demography and growth. The countries of the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa could represent a growth relay driven by a young population and strong economic catching up.
Among the debates and round tables scheduled, the question of financing the growth of the French-speaking economy was raised with the participation of Laurent Goutard, Head of the Africa, Mediterranean and Overseas region at Societe Generale.
It is clear that the private financial sector plays a major role in financing the public sector in Africa. For Societe Generale, which has strong positions in both Europe and Africa, this role can be played in several ways (replay of the round table).
Among the areas where the fate of the Francophone economy will be played out, there is also that of digital technology. Societe Generale was able to highlight its two subsidiaries, Lumo, a participatory investment platform, and Oppens, which specialises in corporate cybersecurity, present on a stand at the meeting.
At the end of these two days, the French-speaking employers published a joint declaration on 25 August on the promotion of French-speaking economic cooperation, highlighting the role of business, solutions and concrete actions to strengthen this partnership. The meeting is already scheduled for next November with the organisation of an international economic forum on the sidelines of the Francophonie Summit in Djerba (Tunisia).