Under the patronage of HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, French BusinessCouncil celebrates close ties to the UAE

Published May 16th, 2010 - 09:55 GMT

The French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates (FBC) will hold
its annual Gala Dinner to celebrate its 23rd anniversary on May 20th at
The Westin Dubai. The event is being held under the patronage of HE
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, who will also be
the guest of honour and will speak at the occasion. The event will bring
together over 300 people, from the UAE and French communities, including
VIPs and dignitaries. Addressing the distinguished audience will be the
French Ambassador to the UAE, HE Alain Azouaou; Honorary President of
the FBC, Mr Hussain Al Jaziri; and President of the FBC, Mr Henri Zoleyn.

The event's main (Diamond) sponsor is Orange Business Services – the
business services arm of France Telecom and one of the largest ICT
employers in the Middle East. Mr Lionel Reina, VP EEMEA of Orange
Business Services, will present the latest innovation from the FBC, a
new c-level executive group called LE Club, which brings together 12
senior executives from leading companies to focus on major projects for
the benefit of the French business community. The aim of 'LE Club' is to
create an active network of senior executives within the FBC, who will
share best practice across a broad range of strategically important
Other principal sponsors of the Gala Dinner include Prisme International
(Platinum sponsor); and gold sponsors - BNP Paribas; Societe Generale;
Emotion; Lagostina; and the official airline, Air France KLM.

The Gala Dinner comes as the French business community is buoyed with
optimism about the future of Dubai and the region, following the latest
membership confidence survey, which showed very positive views of the
prospects for the region, with the UAE as the preferred base from which
to do business within the region. The majority of French companies
expect to maintain or increase investment and recruitment in the next
six months. This increasing level of interest and business activity is
reflected in the FBC membership, which grew from 300 in 2007 to over 400
at the end of 2009.

The launch of Air France’s Abu Dhabi-Paris nonstop route earlier this
month, is another reason for the wave of optimism with the community.

Speaking about the forthcoming FBC Gala Dinner, President of the French
Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates, Mr Henri Zoleyn, comments on
the momentum of French business: “The French business community is very
confident about the prospects for the region, with Dubai as the
commercial hub, and developments such as the new Air France Abu
Dhabi-Paris nonstop flight demonstrate our commitment to the UAE and the
determination to build on the excellent relationships between our two
countries. The FBC in Dubai & Northern Emirates continues to develop
strongly, with an increasingly active and growing membership. The Gala
Dinner is our opportunity to celebrate our close friendship with the
UAE, and also to thank our gracious hosts in Dubai and Northern
Emirates. We are deeply honoured to have HE Sheikha Lubna, UAE Minister
of Foreign Trade, as patron and guest of honour.”

Commercial links between France and the UAE have grown consistently over
the last 30 years and around 300 French companies (affiliates &
representation offices) are currently active in the UAE, with more than
50 per cent of these based in Dubai. France is currently the seventh
largest exporter to the UAE, and the UAE is France’s leading partner in
the Middle East, in the areas of commerce, culture and defence.
During the speech he gave on the 15th of January 2008 on the occasion of
his state visit to the UAE, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France,
observed that the United Arab Emirates is "a country which has become,
in thirty years, the first partner [in the Middle East] on the economic,
military and now cultural level."

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