Exclusive interview with Stéfane Leny, Senior Trade Adviser – Energy & Environment, Industry & Cleantech Department, Business France – French Embassy Trade Commission.
Business France is the host of the official French country pavilion at the upcoming African Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa conference and exhibition in Cape Town in November.
Let’s start with some background on Business France, your aims and your activities.
Business France is a French Government agency responsible for promoting France’s companies, business image and nationwide attractiveness as an investment location. In a nutshell, we help develop local partnerships and foster export growth for French companies. We also facilitate international investment in France and are active in over 120 countries.
You will bring a French Pavilion to African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa in Cape Town in November 2020. What kind of companies will be part of this stand? What specialised technologies and services do they bring to the market?
Our 2020 French Pavilion will once again feature energy specialists such as EDF (our French electric utility company), CODRA (SCADA designers), FONROCHE (solar street lighting manufacturers), ENERGY POOL (DSM solutions for end-users and utilities), ENERLIS (turnkey energy efficiency solutions) as well as electrical components manufacturers CHAUVIN ARNOUX and ENSTO, to name a few.
How important is the South African market for French suppliers of energy and water technologies and services?
It is no longer a secret that France and South Africa have enjoyed strong and fruitful partnerships in the energy and water sectors: ENGIE, for example, is the number one IPP in the country, while EDF and Eskom have had a long-standing partnership for the past 40 years.
VEOLIA recently opened new chemical manufacturing facilities in Johannesburg; and Total’s massive Brulpadda discovery likely represents South Africa’s best opportunity to develop its gas sector. A large number of SMEs, including several renewable energy companies, are also well established in the country. In fact, there are roughly 400 subsidiaries of French companies in South Africa today, employing over 40,000 people.