From December 5 to 8, 2022, 23 experts from the French construction sector will take part to The BIG 5 Show in Dubai, the region’s leading event in the construction industry, with the ambition of forging new strategic partnerships. The buoyant construction sector underpinned by sustained Oil&Gas prices are amplifying investment opportunities in the region. The consequent fast-growing construction industry is a real boon for France, whose expertise is strongly recognized.
The Middle East is a breeding ground for the French construction industry French companies are bringing the best of their R&D capabilities to the Big 5, prioritizing digitalization and the long-term development of their industry in order to maximize efficiency and productivity while achieving the net-zero goal. Indeed, the construction market remains a major driver of the French and European economies, supported by national champions such as Bouygues, Vinci, and Eiffage. New materials, intelligent construction technologies, digitization of processes, smart buildings for the preservation and valorization of resources, risk management; urban and landscape planning solutions will be among the many solutions displayed at the show.
Companies internationally recognized for their know-how in the development and manufacture of equipment, materials, and solutions that are already proven, will be part of the French Pavilion, which is also branded “La French Fab”, the flagship of the French industrial ecosystem.
The GCC has a large pipeline of construction projects, whether it is new residential and commercial real estate projects, or upgrades to transport, power, and water systems, including major industrial developments. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading the way on mega construction projects globally with megaprojects such as the Line, Neom in the Kingdom or the Dubai Islands, Abu Dhabi Louvres Residences, and Hatta tourism projects in the UAE, to name
a few. The UAE’s construction market was valued at USD 340 billion in the first quarter of 2022, owing to the country’s strong tourism development. The UAE remains the top destination for travel and tourism in the region, with visitor expenditures reaching nearly $30 billion in 2021 alone. While Saudi Arabia wants to improve the quality of services in the tourism sector and promote the Kingdom as a top five global destination, with over 100 million visits and a 10% GDP contribution by 2030 through new tourist areas in areas like NEOM, the Red Sea, Diriyah Gate, and Al-Ula.
Through major industrial developments and ambitious tourism projects, the region is willing to be at the forefront of innovation and a sustainable city. The Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040, launched in March 2021 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is a perfect illustration of this ambition to make Dubai the best city to live in.
Axel Baroux, French Trade & Invest Commissioner & Managing Director of Business France Middle East, commented “France is delighted to take part of this 43rd edition of The Big 5 International Building & Construction Show. The French pavilion is bringing innovative solution in diverse sectors such as smart building technologies, IoT, AI, building material …to name just a few. With 4 billion dollars’ worth of projects announced, the region is a top market priority for French companies looking for partnerships, being part of structuring projects and building together the cities of tomorrow”.
An already well-established French expertise in major regional construction projects
French subsidiaries such as Freyssinet, VSN, Soletanche-Bachy, Lafarge, Saint Gobain, Bouygues are already present in the UAE and KSA, having been awarded numerous contracts or signed joint-ventures, such as:
- Etihad rail that awarded a contract worth US$230 million to Vinci Construction for the construction of a rail operations and maintenance facility. Followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SNCF International, Alstom and Thales and Progress Rail, a US-based Caterpillar company, at the InnoTrans 2022 event in Germany ;
- Bouygues Batiment International and Saudi company Almabani General Contractors that signed a $1 billion contract with Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) to build Six Flags, the 32-hectare mega-amusement park near the Saudi capital Riyadh ;
- The Royal Commission for AlUla and a consortium of French engineering companies, Setec, Egis and Assystem, have signed a memorandum of understanding to support infrastructure development in the historic city. The ten-year alliance will see the consortium’s AlUla workforce grow from 40 to 200 people, and includes operations and maintenance activities, as well as the development of AlUla’s professional capabilities.
After challenging years, the construction sector in the GCC is enjoying a positive outlook with rising project opportunities thanks to government-backed projects led by increased revenues from oil exports and the return of international travel. France, ranked 12th among the world’s most innovative countries according to the 2020 Global Innovation Index, wants to play an active role in the development of these strategic infrastructure projects.
France in a few key figures
- The construction market is a major driver of the French and European economies
- France is the European leader in construction, driven by 3 champions: Vinci, Bouygues and Eiffage
- The sector comprises 394,000 companies and 1,477,000 employees with revenues of €140 billion exc. VAT. The construction sector is expected to achieve revenues of €193 billion exc. VAT by 2024
- France is ranked 12th in the world’s most innovative countries according to the 2020 Global Innovation Index
- France is the most attractive country in Europe for foreign investment according to a study by Ernst & Young
France’s increasing commitment to sustainability
- A €1.2 billion stimulus plan for the decarbonisation of the French industry to help industrial companies invest in equipment that emits less CO2
- The residential energy efficiency market is worth €21.6 billion
- Energy savings of 28% are expected in the construction sector by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050
Business France is the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, responsible for fostering export growth by French businesses, as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in France. It promotes France’s companies, business image and nationwide attractiveness as an investment location, and also runs the VIE international internship program.
Business France has 1,500 personnel, both in France and in 58 countries throughout the world, who work with a network of partners.Since January 2019, as part of the reform of the state support system for exports, Business France has given private partners responsibility for supporting French SMEs and mid-size companies in the following markets: Belgium, Hungary, Morocco, Norway, the Philippines and Singapore.
The need to take action in favor of a sustainable world, the priority to respond to social and climate issues, demand much from us. We need a change of direction, a profound transformation, a new revolution – the “Solutions Revolution”, incarnated by “La French Fab”, the new face of France’s industry.
Since industry produces what we consume, it holds the solutions to a prosperous and inclusive new world. Empowered by its past, technological expertise, know-how and talent, industry is the solution to many current and future challenges.
Launched in 2017, La French Fab is supported collectively by the Alliance Industrie du Futur, Bpifrance, Business France, France Industrie, the Direction Générale des Entreprises and France’s regions. These key players are committed to an eco-friendly approach and concerned about the common good. In France an around the world, they’re working to renew the industrial sector, reinvigorate France’s regions, make industrial jobs more attractive, and draw attention to French industrial excellence.
With La French Fab, experience industry in a new way. Together, let’s inspire a new world.