Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French President Emmanuel Macron
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French President Emmanuel Macron Image Credit: WAM

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received visiting French President, Emmanuel Macron, at Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday.

The two leaders discussed the friendly relations, joint cooperation and development opportunities in various fields under the strategic partnership that brings the two countries together, especially in the investment and economic aspects, advanced technology, energy and food security, in addition to the cultural, educational and other fields to achieve their mutual interests.

Joint communique

In a joint communique marking the visit of the French president, the UAE and France highlighted their commitment to align their support to developing countries with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and to increase their support to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Solar Alliance.

Reviewing developments in the region and beyond, the two leaders expressed converging views and stressed their willingness to jointly address regional and global challenges. They underlined the need for international cooperation through effective multilateralism instruments. In this context, both leaders looked forward to working alongside each other during the UAE's non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council for the term 2022-2023, and during the presidency of France in the European Union, with a focus on priorities such as promoting stability, peace and prosperity, women's empowerment and harnessing the potential of technological innovation.

80 Rafale fighter jets

With an evolving international landscape, and reflecting on the exceptional achievements of the strategic partnership of the past 30 years, both leaders expressed a commitment to strengthen this partnership, charting new paths for the future. This strategic partnership has as one of its key anchors the defense agreement signed in 1995 and renewed in 2009, which has contributed greatly to UAE and French security priorities, by strengthening regional stability, enhancing maritime security, and enabling the fight against terrorism, in particular against Daesh. The two leaders reaffirmed the expansion of this partnership, with France supplying 80 Rafale fighter jets to the UAE Air Force Squadron in addition to 12 Caracal H225 Helicopters including weaponising, training and spare parts, with contracts worth 16.6 billion euros.

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Promoting peace

The two leaders agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism, terrorist financing and extremism. In this regard, both leaders emphasised the importance of promoting the values of peace, moderation, coexistence and tolerance among peoples, established on the basis of mutual respect, dialogue, cooperation and renunciation of all forms of terrorism, extremism, violence, hatred, discrimination and incitement.

Shaikh Mohamed congratulated President Macron on the success of the international conference on Libya, held recently in Paris. He valued France's various diplomatic initiatives in the region, and its positive impact on encouraging dialogue and deescalating tensions. Both leaders expressed hope for the successful holding of the Libyan elections within the agreed timeframe and on the withdrawal from Libya of all mercenaries, foreign fighters and forces.

Both leaders expressed their commitment to support the efforts made to promote peace and stability at both the regional and international levels. They also affirmed that political processes and building bridges through dialogue remain the guiding compass aimed at achieving a sustainable solution for all conflicts. They also noted that linking stability and prosperity remains a priority to achieve regional peace and security

Cooperation in Africa

The two leaders commended their growing cooperation on Africa, emphasising the importance of security and stability in the Sahel and Horn of Africa region. President Macron thanked Sheikh Mohamed for his support in the fight against terrorism, through airlift support that proves useful for the G5 Sahel coalition. Both leaders expressed concern over the volatile situation in the Horn of Africa, and over the developments that may reverse economic and political gains there. They also noted that due to the region's strategic geographic location, its stability is critical for the safety of global trade routes and international energy supplies.

President Macron and Sheikh Mohamed discussed the talks regarding the Iranian nuclear program and underscored the importance of a negotiated solution.

President Macron welcomed the UAE's outlook on focusing on de-escalation and cooperation with an aim for shared future prosperity. In this context, President Macron also reiterated his congratulations to Sheikh Mohamed on the progress of the Abraham Accord, as a bold step toward peace and stability in the region.

Both leaders reaffirmed the need to continue to address broader security concerns of the region.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

In the field of culture, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the success of Louvre Abu Dhabi as the emblem of the strategic cultural cooperation and an enduring legacy of the close ties that link the two countries. They welcomed an extension of the intergovernmental agreement that will enshrine for the future the position and the development of this unique museum in the region. Both leaders called for new projects to further propel cultural cooperation.

The two leaders highlighted their shared economic interests and enhance their competitiveness through cooperation and investment in future-looking sectors. Both leaders witnessed the signing of economic agreements with a total value of more than 15 billion euros to strengthen the strategic investment partnership between the UAE and France, targeting sectors of mutual priority and interest, including sectors identified in the ‘France2030' economic program, such as renewable energies, innovation, technologies and 4.0 industries.

Mubadala and Bpifrance

An extension of the current co-investment programme between Mubadala Investment Company and Bpifrance was signed, for a total joint amount of 4 billion euros, to be deployed in line with the previous strategy of both Franco-Emirati Fund and the Innovation Partnership. Mubadala Investment Company signed as well a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, to explore investments in French funds for a total amount of 1.4 billion euros.

Masdar and Engie

Furthermore, Masdar, one of the world's fastest-growing renewable energy companies, and ENGIE, a global energy player in low-carbon energy and services have signed a strategic alliance agreement to explore the co-development of a UAE-based green hydrogen hub. The two companies are looking to develop projects with a capacity of at least 2 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, with a total investment in the region of around 4.4 billion euros.

ADQ and French Ministry of Economy

An investment agreement was also signed between ADQ, through its portfolio companies, and the French Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Recovery to explore investment opportunities with France in the fields of mobility and logistics, food and agriculture, clean energy, life sciences, and healthcare with a total amount of up to 4.6 billion euros.

Adnoc and TotalEnergies

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and TotalEnergies signed a strategic collaboration agreement in areas of mutual interest including carbon capture and storage (CCS), low carbon H2, talent development and upstream oil and gas operations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The strategic agreement offers the potential to unlock new and sustainable growth opportunities for both companies.

Borouge and Technip

Borouge awarded a contract to Technip Energies, in consortium with Target Engineering, to build a world-scale ethane cracker for the Borouge 4 expansion project in Ruwais. The expansion will see Borouge become the world's largest single-site polyolefin complex and ensure the long-term and sustainable supply of core materials to critical sectors vital to both the UAE and the global economy.

Both leaders also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and the French Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Recovery in the field of industries and advanced technology.

Space endeavor

In the field of space, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) and Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to explore potential cooperation on Emirates Lunar Mission "Rashid-2 Rover", whereas MBRSC intends to develop the mission and CNES expressed its interest to potentially provide a new generation of multispectral cameras and support testing of the Rover.

Heritage in areas of conflict

The two leaders emphasised the importance of the work accomplished since 2018 by ALIPH for protecting and rehabilitating heritage in areas of conflict and reaffirmed their shared commitment in view of the 2nd Donors' Conference to be held in Paris early 2022. They also expressed their shared support to multilateral health initiatives such as COVAX and UNITAID.

Food security

The UAE and France recognise the importance of enhancing food security, promoting the sustainability and resilience of international food supply chains, and leveraging modern agricultural technologies and innovative solutions. Therefore, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food signed an MoU to collaborate on developing sustainable and resilient food systems in both countries. To this end, they agreed to facilitate bilateral trade in agricultural and food products through streamlining the supply chains and encouraging importers and distributors in both countries to explore opportunities for partnerships. They also agreed to collaborate on developing sustainable agricultural production with a focus on innovation and adopting modern agricultural production methods.


The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with France's electricity company (EDF). The two organizations will cooperate in the fields of low carbon hydrogen, high voltage transmission, localization and industrialization as well as research and development (R&D).

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has also been signed between Paris Europlace and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) with a view to developing cooperation in the field of sustainable finance, fintech and financial innovation.

Based on the strength of such a broad and solid partnership that contributes to increasing mutual security, stability, economic development and symbolic cooperation, the two leaders expressed confidence in their ability to address future challenges