Opening Remarks by Mr. Pierre GATTAZ, President of the France Business Confederation, Vice-president of Business Europe

Stars In Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, 6 March 2018

Your Excellency Mister President KENYATTA,
Honorable Ministers,
Dear African and European Business Confederation’s Leaders,
Dear fellow entrepreneurs and partners,
Dear friends,

It is a true pleasure to be here today with you all in Nairobi. As you may know, I am the President of MEDEF, the largest French business
confederation. We represent 75% of French companies of all sizes operating across all sectors. And also, I am the Vice President of Business Europe, which represents 39 European Business Confederations.

In April 2016, we had the great honor to welcome Honorable Mr. Uhuru KENYATTA, President of the Republic of Kenya, at MEDEF Headquarters, in Paris. You then invited to come to Kenya and lead a business mission : so here we are!

This delegation of 60 business leaders from 50 French companies that I am leading to Nairobi, from Monday, March 5th to Wednesday, March 7th, brings together the most advanced and innovative French companies from a wide range of sectors:
• Energy and environment
• Infrastructures and construction
• Transports and logistics
• Telecommunication
• Aeronautics, aerospace and defense industries.
• Bank & insurance
• Consulting firms

Essentially big names and medium sized, but also small sized and start-ups companies. Most of them are long term investors in Kenya, others are actively prospecting new opportunities in this unique market. Kenya is one of the markets with the greatest potential in Africa. We are eager to boost economic ties and continue to build a strong, lasting, strategic cooperation, based on mutual trust and commitment over the long term. France wants to become an unconditional partner of Kenya.

I am convinced that Africa and Europe have a common destiny. Companies are the only solution to tackle these challenges. As entrepreneurs, we great growth and jobs. As entrepreneurs, we set long term partnerships. The future partnership between Europe and Africa must give a greater role to the European and African private sectors, which are crucial for the development of our continents.

That is why I strongly believe that business should be at the core of the new partnership between Africa and Europe. And we all know that the opportunities are huge on the continent. Together we can rise to our countries’ challenges: Digital transition, green transition, globalisation, demographic transition …

I believe that in that Europe-Africa new dynamic, Kenya and France have a special part to play.

One of the biggest challenges facing the African continent is therefore to train and support young people and create jobs. And I want to repeat my conviction here: businesses are needed to create wealth and share values. Entrepreneurs are needed to create, take over or develop

By developing entrepreneurship, we want to make youth the pillar of inclusive and sustainable growth on the African continent.

It is in this context that MEDEF, MEDEF International and the OIE launched the Active Growth and Youth Programs (AGYP) for Africa Europe. It is a network of employers, entrepreneurs, institutions, stakeholders in education/training, companies and associations.

With our partners, like KEPSA, FKE and of course Business Africa, we decided to launch today the “Stars in Africa Forum” to promote and deliver concrete actions. This is the platform that throughout Africa will set up partnerships supported by national business confederations and their partners.

This is a pleasure for me to launch that initiative in Nairobi, here, at the iHub that represents that vibrant ecosystem to start building win-win partnership; we have to learn from Africa, we have to learn from Kenya.

I hope you will enjoy it and you will join the journey.