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CCIFM Crystelle Coury

MOZAMBIQUE - Economy

Crystelle Coury

Executive Director, Chamber of Commerce & Industry France-Mozambique (CCIFM)

Bio

Crystelle Coury has been living in Mozambique for nearly four years now and was appointed Director General of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry France-Mozambique (CCIFM) in January 2022. Graduated from Toulouse Business School in France & Strathclyde University in the UK, Crystelle has 20 years of professional experience in Business Development, Communications and Public Relations, in more than 20 countries. The large part of her career was in the media and publishing field.

"Approximately 25 dockers, maintenance mechanics, and seafarers were trained in Mozambique and then spent four to six weeks in La Réunion island."
TBY talks to Crystelle Coury, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry France-Mozambique (CCIFM), about bilateral trade, sectors with strong investment potential, and La Réunion.
Can you provide us with an overview of the CCIFM and its primary mission in promoting bilateral trade between France and Mozambique?

CCIFM was created in Maputo in 2015 at the initiative of French companies established in Mozambique. Our vision is to promote bilateral trade and strengthen business, commercial, and industrial exchanges between France and Mozambique. CCIFM facilitates access of French companies to the Mozambican market from export to office set-up and search of local partners. Over the years, we have developed a powerful network of institutional and corporate partners in both Mozambique as well as France, to best defend the interests of our current 140 member companies. Our member base encompasses Blue-Chips, Mid-Caps, SMEs, and entrepreneurs from a wide variety of economic sectors: energy, transport and logistics, professional services, healthcare, automotive, agribusiness, IT, and more. We welcome predominantly French and Mozambican companies, today at respectively 39% and 36% of our membership base, and have quite a significant number of companies from other nationalities, too. There are currently around 70 subsidiaries of French companies or companies set up by French entrepreneurs in Mozambique, employing around 5,000 people. We are part of the CCI France-International network, headquartered in Paris-France and made up of not less than 118 French Chambers of Commerce & Industry in 93 countries. We naturally work in close collaboration with the French Embassy in Mozambique to best support French companies wishing to establish themselves or do business in Mozambique. Our missions are to build a network of connected businesses to generate opportunities. We, therefore, organize a multitude of events each year.

Are there specific sectors in Mozambique that you believe hold the most potential for French investment and partnership?

The Mozambican economy presents a wide array of business opportunities for French companies. The first sector that comes to mind is the energy field at large: from E&P in gas, to renewable energies and all topics related to the energy transition. Technologies and specific services related to the energy sector are sought after locally, and the French savoir faire in those fields can be put into the spotlight and generate business leads. The success of the recent trade mission of EVOLEN, the French Association of Energy, is a good testimony of the high level of interest of French companies in the energy sector. Transport and logistics is another sector filled with business opportunities in Mozambique for French companies, whether maritime, road, air, or railway. Significant investments are being made and will continue to be made in all infrastructures of the country. One of the key projects that was led between 2020 and 2023 was a local content training cooperation program between Mozambique and La Réunion island—a French territory in the Indian Ocean. In a nutshell, a partnership agreement with the aim of developing regional cooperation was put in place between Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM, the state-owned company managing the rail system and its connected ports) and Grand Port Maritime De La Réunion (Port Réunion). CCIFM was commissioned to implement and deliver the cooperation program. Approximately 25 dockers, maintenance mechanics, and seafarers were trained in Mozambique and then spent four to six weeks in La Réunion island to follow technical courses and gain work experience in Reunionese companies. In addition, CCIFM organizes a series of business and networking events for our business community year round. One of the key events we organized in April 2023 with the French Embassy in Mozambique and with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was the multi-sectoral Business Forum Mozambique-France, which welcomed close to 40 French companies in Maputo for two days of B2B and B2G meetings.

What do you see as the main challenges and opportunities for French companies operating in Mozambique, and how is CCIFM addressing these?

The array of business opportunities is immense, but the challenges are, too. Command of the Portuguese language is a must, especially when dealing with public institutions. I have seen businesses flourish in Mozambique, but you need to have resilience and patience. Work with a local partner and collaborate with well-established international or local advisory firms for the legal, fiscal, and taxation aspects. Finally, collaborate with the organizations part of the ‘Team France’ ecosystem locally, especially the French Embassy and Economic Service, the French Foreign Trade Advisors local group (les Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur), and of course, CCIFM. Our French community locally is small but we are united as one.

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