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Climate transition galvanises ties between UAE and France

UAE France Romain Gaillard/Pool/Reuters
The presidents of the UAE and France, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Emmanuel Macron, look on as ministers Sultan Al Jaber, Bruno Le Maire and Agnès Pannier-Runacher sign agreements between their countries
  • Clean energy investment platform
  • Important to mobilise private sector
  • Joint projects in progress

Climate transition is becoming a central focus of economic cooperation between the UAE and France as the countries agreed to establish a “Bilateral Climate Investment Platform”.

The platform aims to accelerate joint projects and investments in clean energy sectors, with a particular focus on advancing the decarbonisation of industries such as steel, cement and petrochemicals.

“Businesses have a central role to play in this area, which must translate into larger volumes of green investments, and therefore more green projects developed between French and Emirati companies,” said Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister.

The new investment platform’s anchor partners are Adnoc, Masdar, TotalEnergies, Bpifrance and logistics company CMA CGM, with an aim to attract additional investment over time.

It was agreed at a plenary meeting in Paris this week co-chaired by Sultan Al Jaber, managing director and group CEO of Adnoc, and Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies.

Al Jaber highlighted the “importance of mobilising the private sectors on both sides to deliver sustainable economic development collaboration opportunities and partnerships”.

At the meeting TotalEnergies Renewables and Masdar also agreed to explore potential joint projects in solar and wind energy in Central Asia and Africa.

The two companies are already working on producing sustainable aviation fuel from methanol. The first demonstration flight took place on the sidelines of Cop28 in Dubai last year.

Masdar has also linked up with CMA CGM and Paris-based Hy24 on the long-term supply of green alternative fuels linked to shipping routes and the development of carbon-free hydrogen projects globally.

Sultan Al Jaber and Bruno Le Maire signed the agreement to set up a climate investment platformWam
Sultan Al Jaber of the UAE and France’s Bruno Le Maire signed the agreement to set up a climate investment platform

France aims to double renewable energy production by 2035 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the UAE’s net zero ambitions.

The French government is conducting auctions for solar, wind and hydroelectric projects to increase renewable electricity production to up to 175 gigawatts by 2035, compared with 63.5 gigawatts last year.

Separately, French energy company Engie said on Wednesday that it is launching a venture studio in the UAE to “develop new business models and fundable startups” in energy transition.

Engie said last year that it has invested $12 billion in energy, water desalination and green hydrogen projects in the UAE.

The UAE hosts about 600 French companies employing more than 30,000 employees, while the UAE is France’s second-largest investor in the GCC.

Non-oil trade between the two countries increased by more than 12 percent during the first nine months of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022, exceeding AED25 billion.

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