Lundi 22 Avril 2019  

N°124 - Quatrième trimestre 2018

La lettre diplometque
Entretien exclusif
Diplomatie & Défense
La lettre diplometque
La lettre diplomatique Haut

The Francophone Business Forum the First Support Network for Companies Working in French around the Globe

By Mr Steve Gentili, Chairman of BRED-Banque populaire and President of the Francophone Business Forum (FFA)

The Francophone Business Forum (FFA) is an economic organization established in 1987 by the Heads of State and Government of La Francophonie, which recently held its 12th Summit in Quebec. Over the past twenty years the FFA has become one of the world’s foremost business networks, working with every French-speaking country as well as Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic-speaking nations.
We are active in over 120 countries, helping companies eager to venture into international markets and wanting to do so in French. A national committee  represents the public and private business community in each of these countries. Constituted entirely of private economic players, the Francophone Business Forum is an international network run by corporate leaders and coordinated by a central administrative body headquartered in Paris. Our organization is unique in that business trades are directly represented in it, allowing professionals working in different countries to establish links with other professionals in their field, instead of simply forging geographic or linguistic ties.
This “vertical” structure, organized by profession (agricultural trades, transportation trades, legal trades, etc.), reduces and even rectifies the inequalities sometimes found between members of a given profession working in the North or in the South. In most cases these professionals receive the same training, target the same clientele, follow the same legal and economic concepts, and advocate the same professional values.
The Francophone Business Forum works in partnership with international authorities. We represent the interests of private businesses within U.N. and European bodies as well as regional economic integration organizations.
As a global network with influence in both the economic and political arenas, every year the Francophone Business Forum organizes the «Annual Meeting of the Francophone Economic Space,» described by the media as the «Davos» of the French-speaking economy. This large-scale gathering brings together heads of state, ministers, academics, journalists and researchers to discuss cross-disciplinary themes and country-specific issues.
We have arranged meetings between agriculture ministers and farming professionals, and are getting ready to bring the tourism ministers of French-speaking countries together with professionals working in tourism-related trades, once again for the first time. We are in the process of creating a Francophone Tourism Observatory to be launched on this occasion, which will be part of the Francophone Economic Observatory we are putting together.
The Francophone Business Forum promotes doing business in French by fostering dialogue between economic players from different parts of the world. In May 2008 we worked with the International Organization of the Francophonie and the Permanent Assembly of Chambers of Trade to organize the first major meeting between tradesmen from the North and the South. Once the Economic Partnership Agreements have been signed between the European Union and the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) States, we will inform economic operators of the changes they will bring. 
These new accords will significantly alter economic and trade relations between Europe and southern countries. These changes will affect first and foremost the countries of Africa, with whom we have particularly close ties.
We ensure that our professional partners are aware of changes on the horizon, so they can be thinking ahead and are in a better position to tackle them when the time comes. These new situations may look like threats, but they can be transformed into opportunities by economic players who have prepared for them beforehand.
Some people are surprised to learn that our globalized world contains a network of corporate leaders who value doing business in French. But we are convinced that French can and must remain the key language of professional training and the support medium for economic activities. We are championing not only the French language, but also values and references such as Latin law and French-inspired standards.
Recent events have shown that we are not fighting in vain. On the contrary, there is a good deal of wisdom in choosing to be part of a tradition and preserving a reference framework that keeps with our cultural tradition. In plain terms, the issue of standards and ratings at the root of the current financial crisis is one of our biggest concerns.
Our Annual Meeting held in Montreal on 17 October 2008, during the Francophonie Summit, focused on “economic information in French” and more specifically financial ratings and standards.
Several hundred corporate leaders and economic journalists came together with financial experts at the National Bank of Canada, where they debated what can only be called the “Francophone model.” This does not mean we are declining to take the same course as the rest of the world. We are simply examining that course, and trying to determine how it can be beneficial to us. We hope at the same time to strengthen our unique characteristics, which in many cases constitute our added value. Remaining faithful to the role we’ve played in international economic life, bolstered by our uniqueness, we are helping conserve the world’s much needed diversity.
In this same spirit, of a French-speaking community that is open yet ready to defend its identity, we organized the first Economic Intelligence Summer Institute in Paris in early October, in conjunction with the CED (Culture-Economy-Defense).
Numerous experts came to tell us about the urgent need and usefulness of strengthening ties between Francophone professionals in our increasingly competitive world.
Groupings and networks have become vital in order to succeed today. Economic and financial movements are brutal and at times contradictory, making it more important than ever for companies to join forces and work together. Globalization does not negate the need for international networks but makes them indispensable and calls for creating even more of them. The uncertainty weighing upon our societies harks back to the real economy created by entrepreneurs and salaried workers, those who believed in the market-ruled economy and a world without rules.
We believe that in order to develop harmoniously, a human community must follow certain principles and respect certain values. In the Francophone Business Forum we maintain that the economy must work in the service of mankind. This is why we joined with the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) to draw up the Charter of Ethics of Francophone Companies, to which all the companies working with us adhere. These standards are also embodied by the firms awarded the “Economic Francophonie Prize,” a prestigious award bestowed by the FFA which is always presented to the recipients by a Head of State or Government.
We are carrying out a multitude of projects: heightening visibility of Francophone economic actions; supporting the private sector in the international bodies laying down the law and consequently steering the economy; offering a French-speaking support system for companies working internationally. We have a magnificent “showcase” for doing this: the Francophone Business Pavilion at the 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai. The Francophone Business Forum welcomes companies that would like to be represented at the fair to join forces with us there.

Retour en haut de page

La lettre diplomatique Bas
  Présentation - Derniers Numéros - Archives - Nos Liens - Contacts - Mentions Légales