The 140-strong team of French businessmen and women which arrived in Libya on Saturday were in Misrata on Tuesday meeting with . . .[restrict]local counterparts and officials. The team, led by Alain Bonnot, CEO of Vinci Construction and Chairman of the French-Libyan Business Council, and by Michel Casals, Chairman of the Paris-based Franco-Libyan Chamber of Commerce, arrived in Tripoli on Saturday.
“So far it’s been a great success,” said Thierry Courtaigne, CEO of MEDEF International, the international arm of the French Business Council which has some 700,000 member companies in France.
The team is due to visit Benghazi on Wednesday before returning home to France.
“We came to find out what’s happening,” said Courtaigne. “We’re here to meet Libyans and learn what they want.”
An 80-strong French business team had been in Libya in October, Courtaigne said, and another in December. But this delegation had been planned in September. So large was the present delegation, representing over 110 companies, that an entire aircraft had been chartered to fly in and around Libya. Interest and enthusiasm among French businesses to get involved in Libya is intense, he said.
“France is a top investor in many Mediterranean countries,” Courtaigne said. “We helped Libya in 2011,” he added, referring to French air intervention during last year’s uprising to overthrow the Qaddafi regime. Now it is a case of rebuilding the country. “We can help here.”
He said that French companies were restarting businesses and projects interrupted by the revolution. There were also projects in Libya “to be won”. French businesses had already created “11 groups corresponding to Libyan priorities,” he disclosed. “They’re all here.”
He said another major delegation would be in Libya in the summer. “We’re coming back in six months,” he said.