Address by the French Ambassador
"Your Excellency Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are gathered tonight to wish Émilien Roulot well. Altogether with Sirisavan Phathaphone, he has been the pillar of the economic department of this Embassy. He did his job under the friendly supervision of Jean-Jacques Guillaudeau, a very experimented economic counselor who is with us tonight and who has strongly supported this department from Phnom Penh where he is based.
It is an opportunity for all of us, Lao and French, to proudly look at what has been achieved during the two years when Émilien has been among us. The relationships between our two countries, including their economic part, have made great steps forward during these years.
In 2012 and 2013, two Airbus A320 have been added to the two already purchased by Lao Airlines. Two ATR72 have also been added. The tragedy of Paksé didn’t challenge the qualities of that aircraft : their number inside Lao Airlines fleet is bound to increase. The biggest hydroelectricity plant in Lao PDR, Nam Theun 2, designed and operated by EDF, has started production. The BFL, still young but internationally famous, has thoroughly expanded its network. The first Essilor factory in Lao PDR will be launched in the coming weeks in Savannakhet. The Embassy and the French private sector have convinced the Lao authorities to co-organize the Rendez-vous de Vientiane in last November. This event left its mark on the local stage. Moreover, many SME’s have been established in various sectors such as hotels, restaurants, tourism, IT, and crafts.
As it is well known, the French business community is the largest of all OECD countries in Lao PDR. Therefore it is the cornerstone of the ECCIL (European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR) which is steadily building its capacities and will be more and more active in the coming years, thanks to the EU’s support.
During these two years, the economic department has also methodically achieved an essential work on macro-economic analysis, information of the economic operators, of assessment of the economic regulations in a permanent coordination with the private sector, including the counselors of foreign trade of France.
Finally, under the leadership of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius, “economic diplomacy” has been implemented. Obviously, it didn’t come out of the blue but did strengthen the coordination inside the “French team” by gathering not only economic operators but also cultural, cooperation as well as academic actors.
Economic relationships between France and Laos have also been strongly supported by our excellent political relationship, enhanced during these two years by the visits of our Presidents and those of many economic ministers.
With a sustainable growth rate above 8% per year, abundant resources and the government will to promote economic opening and necessary reforms for better regulation and rule of law, French entrepreneurs are more than ever attracted to this country and ready to invest, provided that they find a welcoming environment.
Should I remind it, one key element of this environment is the French lycée Josué Hoffet. Indeed, being aware that they will find a good school for their kids – 100% success at baccalaureat ! – leads economic actors to choose Vientiane. After studying in University, Lycée Hoffet graduates are also great assets for the national Human resources. Let’s hope that the necessary extension of lycée Josué Hoffet will be achieved without further delay, as our chiefs our State have declared in their joint communiqué on October, 22.
Dear Émilien, you have worked at the heart of this history. I know how much you enjoyed living in this country and how many regrets you will leave here. In your next assignment, I am sure you will demonstrate your impeccable professional skills, your talent for human relationships and your curiosity for the environment (not forgetting the artistic dimension), as well as you did here ; in short, the charming personality your friends came to greet tonight."