MONACO ECONOMIC BOARD’S AGENDA LOOKS ABROAD

by G.Errico with Marco Volpato MONACO. On September 17, 2016, over 250 economic players in the Principality attended the MEB’s back to work after the summer Members Rendezvous held at the Yacht Club de Monaco. Michel Dotta outlined the upcoming programme followed by the traditional networking cocktail. The Monaco Economic Board’s Members Rendezvous had a refreshing maritime air about it. A pleasant breeze was blowing across the Yacht Club’s Observatory Deck on the fifth level, giving a sense of being offshore for this unmissable networking event. In his speech, Chairman Michel Dotta underlined the importance of the yachting sector for Monaco, represented by 300+ companies employing some 1,500 people which generated €749 million turnover in 2015. The ambition is for the Principality to consolidate its position as world capital of yachting. In fact, at the Monaco Yacht Show, the Monaco Invest team has been involved in two promotional operations targeting a handpicked audience. On September 20th 2016, Ludovic Subran outlined Iran-Russia diagonal prospects for the MEB. The Automobile Club de Monaco sold out during the news conference Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Euler Hermes, organized by the Monaco Economic Board in partnership with the JCE Monaco and Monaco Asset Management. The theme “From Russia to Iran, a diagonal to rediscover” was an opportunity to discuss a number of interesting countries. In his welcome address, the President Dotta, after emphasizing Ludovic Subran’s eloquence, expressed keen interest in this area beginning with Russia and Azerbaijan. On Russia, the diagnosis of the speaker is rather optimistic. After a succession of crises in recent years, the country seems on track. The economy is in fact adapted to the combined effect of low commodity prices and Western sanctions. This was followed by a healthy diversification of economic base without digging deficit. Euler Hermes anticipates a growth in production and consumption that could offer new opportunities for Monaco companies. The Caucasus and Central Asia have been very affected by the crisis to their large neighbour with which the links are important. Ludovic Subran took the example of the currencies of these countries, generally non-convertible, related in the ruble. Falling incomes of many migrant workers in Russia has also strongly impacted the GDP of the sub region. On Azerbaijan in particular, the economist pointed out the difficulties caused by the price of oil but remains there as relatively optimistic. If this year the country will be in recession for the first time in years, a recovery is looming next year, driven by several factors: the likely Russian recovery and the many structural reforms should emerge soon. Infrastructure, agribusiness, financial services or healthcare are sectors that could offer great opportunities for investors. Finally Turkey and Iran were discussed. The first, despite a significant loss of confidence since the recent coup attempt, enjoys massive support from the state. As for Iran, despite notable open signals, the country faces the persistent mistrust of Western countries. On this subject, Ludovic Subran considered that Azerbaijan could be an excellent anteroom to enter this promising country. Finally, among the elements that could also benefit the recovery of the region, Ludovic Subran expects a stabilization of oil prices, even raising the possibility of a rapid rise mainly due to the undervaluation of the Chinese demand. In short, a compendium of valuable information, even indispensable for the MEB one of whose roles is to draw for its members new economic routes for the Principality. Therefore, as part of Monaco Week in Moscow, orchestrated by the Monaco Embassy in Russia to mark ten years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Monaco Economic Board (MEB) has organised a Trade Mission to the capital from 4 to 7 October.

 The trip is the culmination of all the work undertaken in recent years. While official relations date back to 1877, it was in 2013 when accompanying the first Official Visit by HSH the Sovereign Prince Albert II to Russia that the MEB made firm contacts with its Russian counterparts. Two years later, ‘Russian Year in Monaco’ concluded with a Forum organised by the MEB, during which partnership agreements were signed with the Russian CCI, the RSPP (Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs) and Business Russia. Led by Gilles Tonelli, Minister of Foreign Relations and Cooperation and MEB Chairman Michel Dotta this latest mission has built on the mutual understanding established during past meetings. A delegation of 45 people was signed up, representing 30 companies operating in sectors such as banking-finance-insurance, expertise and consultancy, real estate, health/wellbeing, the food industry, environment, automobile, ICT, tourism and events. In short, a group mirroring the dynamic, diverse nature of the Principality’s economy. Some companies are already established and know the Russian market, others came for the first time, all with specific development objectives in mind. They found partners, opportunities to share expertise, and opportunities to prospect for distributors and franchises. A packed programme awaited them with bilateral presentations, talks on the particularities of doing business in Russia, testimonies from those already established in the country and of course sector-specific round tables. Evening events organised by the Monaco Embassy and the Tourism and Convention Authority have also provided plenty of opportunities for Monegasque entrepreneurs to take part in the tourism and cultural aspects of Monaco Week in Moscow. To conclude, Michel Dotta welcomed members from the MEB’s Monaco Business Abroad network that connects a dynamic Monegasque diaspora, operating in various sectors all over the world. A vital link in the MEB networking chain, it is a great source of opportunities in the making, both internally and externally.

For 2017, a mission to Mexico is already in the pipeline. It was preceded by an Ambassador’s Lunch on 11 October with HE Mr Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo who had presented his Letters of Credence to HSH Prince Albert II the day before.

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