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France announces ‘record’ foreign investments worth 15 bn euros

French President Emmanuel Macron with Microsoft CEO Brad Smith, whose company announced four billion euros in investment in France
French President Emmanuel Macron with Microsoft CEO Brad Smith, whose company announced four billion euros in investment in France - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Drew Angerer
French President Emmanuel Macron with Microsoft CEO Brad Smith, whose company announced four billion euros in investment in France - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Drew Angerer

France has received combined investment commitments from foreign companies of more than 15 billion euros ($16.2 billion), President Emmanual Macron’s office said Monday.

The announcement came as Macron kicked off a day of meetings with foreign business leaders at the Chateau de Versailles, called “Choose France”.

The biggest single commitment is by Microsoft which on Sunday announced four billion euros in investment for developing data centres.

Microsoft’s president Brad Smith told AFP the move to strengthen its artificial intelligence and cloud computing infrastructure was the tech giant’s biggest-ever investment in France since its arrival 41 years ago.

A new data centre will be created in eastern France, while existing sites in the Paris region and the southern city of Marseille will be expanded.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon will invest more than 1.2 billion euros in France, creating more than 3,000 jobs, Macron’s office said earlier on Sunday.

The money will help develop Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud infrastructure, mainly generative artificial intelligence, and the logistical infrastructure of its parcel delivery service, a statement added.

Several pharmaceutical companies, including US group Pfizer and Britain’s AstraZeneca, announced on Sunday commitments to invest more than a billion euros more in France’s health sector. 

The largest industrial project announced so far is a potential fertiliser factory, which could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

France was Europe’s top destination for foreign investment for the fifth year running last year, according to an EY survey, with more than 1,200 investment announcements.

“This is a result of the stability of our economic policies,” Finance Minister Brune Le Maire told public broadcaster France 2.

Macron’s office said that the 15-billion-euro investment total — spread over a “record” 56 projects — would potentially lead to 10,000 job creations.

Sylvain Bersinger, chief economist at economic consultancy Asteres, said France’s attractiveness for foreign money was based on its education system, tax regime, innovation culture and solid domestic market.

He cast doubt, however, on the usefulness of Monday’s high-profile event at Versailles, once home to the kings of France.

“Most of the projects would have happened anyway, with or without the summit,” he said.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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