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Economic stability needed for political stability - French ambassador

Jul 13 2017 14:03
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Economic stability is required in order to create political stability, according to Christophe Farnaud, France's ambassador to South Africa.

"Our French companies investing in SA take into account that this is what long-term success requires," he said as the guest speaker at a gathering of the SA Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

There are currently about 400 French companies active in SA and they employ a total of about 37 000 people.

Farnaud pointed out that traditional answers to problems are not good enough to tackle economic problems in the world anymore. On top of that, economic challenges can only be faced by working together.
 
According to Farnaud, growing inequalities and low growth in the world have led to critics "from inside" various economies being less sure that globalisation will be worth their while.

"No country can decide on its own anymore. Choosing isolation would be a false solution. With global challenges we need cooperation," said Farnaud.

"To be an international player implies that a country needs a strong economy. We want to use labour reforms, for instance, to give impetus to being competitive and to ensure that our companies can compete globally."

He told Fin24 it is clear that more competencies will be needed in the labour force. This would not just be relating to skills, but to the ability of workers to evolve and adapt during their careers.

In this regard he said France wants to develop its relations with Africa - not only francophone Africa. South Africa is on top of the list in terms of its capability of being a regional partner in this regard.

"SA has everything needed to be an engine of growth in the region. It still has a huge potential due to its huge assets, industrial base, infrastructure and diverse economy," Farnaud told Fin24.

READ: Zulu: French-SA tech lab can find solutions

Nuclear deal

During question time Farnaud was asked about France's interest in a possible nuclear energy deal with the SA government.

"I want it to be very clear," said Farnaud. "France is already a key nuclear partner in SA's nuclear energy field. If there is a request for a nuclear proposal from the SA government, French companies will compete. We are for open competition and transparency. There is no exception to that rule."

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france  |  south africa  |  world economy  |  sa economy

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