Unlocking Opportunities in the African Market: France and French trade shows – keys to success.

Paris Region Entreprises and Promosalons, backed by the French Embassy, organised a conference in Cologne on 30 September 2016 to promote the Paris Region and its international trade exhibitions as an economically attractive catalyst for developing businesses in Africa.

• Demonstrate to German companies and influencers that France – especially the Paris Region – offers a prime gateway to African markets.
• Bolster Paris Region’s profile and take the lead among European trade exhibitions targeting African markets.
More than 80 guests attended the event, which was opened by the French Ambassador to Germany, Mr Philippe Etienne.

A succession of French and German experts then took the floor to set out the vast potential and distinguishing characteristics of African markets:

- * Africa’s needs and the challenges it faces in the areas of agriculture and food
- * Africa’s needs and the issues surrounding infrastructure, energy and urban development

Didier Boulogne, Director of Business France in Dusseldorf, highlighted the depth of political and cultural exchanges between France and the African continent, and how these give rise to favourable economic relations.

Frédérique de Bast, Head of International Marketing at Paris Region Entreprises, explained: ‘There are over 1,000 French companies operating in Africa, many of them based in the Paris region. France exports more to Africa than any other European country. As the capital, Paris Region offers a dense diplomatic network, an exceptional transport hub to Africa, strong cooperation with universities and scientists, and a very favourable ecosystem for doing business with Africa. These factors give Paris Region a pivotal role in developing trade with Africa, and a great many international companies are already taking advantage of it.’

Olivier Mellerio, Promosalons Chairman, highlighted the strong African presence at the 450 international trade exhibitions held every year in France. ‘On average, French trade exhibitions draw about 30,000 visitors and 1,300 exhibitors from Africa, depending on the year. Visitors come from all 54 African countries, and we have exhibitors from 34 countries. These figures show how heavily represented African countries are at French trade exhibitions. Taking part in trade shows in France gives German companies access to African markets through networking many African buyers, project leaders and investors.’

The delegation of French world leading trade show organisers was made up of SIMA and SIAL, with ALL4PACK responsible for the agriculture and food sector and POLLUTEC, INTERMAT, and MONDIAL DU BATIMENT in charge of the construction/Environmental sector. All of these companies demonstrated what close ties they have with professionals in African markets. They reminded us that French trade shows boost the profile of African visitors and exhibitors with dedicated halls, targeted conferences and a programme of events promoting meetings and networking with African business visitors.

See the photos of this event at Facebook photo album.