On May 11th, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), visited Paris for a working visit and met with Emmanuel Macron. The purpose of this visit was to discuss the preparation of two upcoming major events: the Summit on the New Global Financial Pact and COP28.
The Paris Summit, scheduled for June 22nd and 23rd, aims to reflect on the reform of cooperation policies with developing countries, particularly to promote investments in green infrastructure and accelerate the energy transition.
COP28 will be held in Dubai in early December 2023, and one of the topics to be addressed will be financing for climate change adaptation.
The UAE is France’s closest partner in the Arabian Peninsula. In 2020, France and the UAE signed a strategic partnership to strengthen their relations, and this partnership was further enhanced in 2022 with a dedicated focus on the energy and innovation sector.
The UAE, which has built its fortune on fossil fuels, has made a shift towards renewable energies and investments in green industries. In 2021, a nuclear power plant with a capacity of 5600 megawatts started to operate. While the four reactors of the Barakah nuclear power plant were built by a consortium led by the South Korean company Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), the French contribution is also significant. EDF will provide personnel training for the plant, and the ANDRA agency will work on the development of a waste treatment program.
Currently, the UAE is undertaking numerous initiatives in wind and solar energy, such as the Al Dhafra project, which is expected to generate 2.1 gigawatts in the long run. EDF is one of the shareholders in this solar facility, which will commence operations this year.
There are abundant opportunities for French startups and companies in the sustainable energy sector in the UAE, and the commitment of both France and the UAE to promote greener solutions through the Paris Summit and COP28 demonstrates the mutual interest of these two countries in working together for environmental cooperation.