Erik Linquier

Commissioner general for the French Pavilion

France in Dubai, a fantastic opportunity
Portrait d'Erik Linquier

Erik LinquierCommissioner general for the French Pavilion

All World Expos are one-of-a-kind opportunities for the countries taking part to showcase their talents.

The theme in Dubai in 2020, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, is prompting us to think about how digital technology is transforming our daily lives and can help to build the kind of sustainable future we want.

For France, it’s an opportunity to promote a bold and optimistic vision for the world’s future.

The overarching goal is to show how our country is leveraging the solutions it’s developing to turn today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities. In a speech in September 2017, the French President tasked our ambassadors with “redefining humanism in the midst of change.” That’s what the French pavilion at Dubai 2020 will be all about: it will feature our expertise and focus on how we are harnessing digital technology to transform cities and regions. This expertise, first and foremost, springs from a vision: we believe that technology only serves a purpose if it makes people’s daily lives better and helps to promote the common good and protect our planet. Digital technology is opening the door to an array of new services that can bring about new smart cities that people enjoy living in, that can connect regions, that can share knowledge.

 Dubai 2020 is an opportunity to promote a bold and optimistic vision for the world’s future. The French Pavilion will feature our expertise and focus on how we are harnessing digital technology to transform cities and regions. 

This exhibition will be exceptional on several scores

It’s the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East. So it’s a fantastic opportunity for France to leverage its presence in the region and foster its sustainable development. And France has another advantage in Dubai: it’s the third-largest investor in the United Arab Emirates – which is home to more than 30,000 French people. The World Expo will also skirt three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia – so it will attract a large international crowd. (The organisers are expecting about 25 million visitors!) That’s why we also need to think of this gathering as an opportunity to generate more activity for our talents. And Dubai 2020 will be the place where we show the world what France is doing, in practice, to support the technological, ecological and economic transitions under way. Because the message is the same as at the One Planet Summit: the future can be nothing but sustainable.

The French pavilion will be in the World Expo’s “Mobility” area

Mobility has to do with moving, and moving, by extension, also has to do with changing – changing function, appearance or form, for example. Mobility – moving people and goods, connecting regions, and circulating ideas and information – is vital to all the transitions unfolding today. That’s why the French pavilion will explore the new kinds of mobility that will serve the common good. Our country has a number of prominent players in these fields, and a pool of up-and-coming companies that are positioning it in several cutting-edge sectors.

The goal for the French pavilion is to shed light on our wealth of talents, products and services

But we also want it to be the most appealing one. That’s why we’ve designed it to treat visitors to a memorable full immersion and enlightening experience. It will be brimming with life, connect people and welcome the world. We’re preparing an appealing programme for the general public, for the professionals looking for business opportunities, and for the French expats in the region. The French “diaspora” there will also play a valuable role and serve as one of our links in Dubai. Lastly, our pavilion will promote France’s environmental agenda: it will be the most sustainable one our country has ever built – encompassing its operation as well as its use.

France’s pavilion in Dubai 2020, however, will only be the unqualified success we want it to be if the country as a whole embraces it. Our goal at Cofrex, the company that I run and which is organising France’s operation at this World Expo, is to rally as many French players and partners as we can around this project. We want to show that France is enthusiastic, bold and conquering. We will do that by thinking very creatively and working very hard together, to build an amazing platform for all our talents and companies to shine.

Join us in Dubai !