Is French the third business language of the UAE?
When I first arrived in the UAE five years ago I was immediately impressed by the importance of the French speaking community and the pace it was growing.
Yes the UAE is not a francophone country. None of the GCC countries are French-speaking. So, why is there so much interest in looking to recruit French-speaking candidates?
There are over 30,000 French nationals living in the UAE, a mere 0.3% of the total population. Demand for French speakers is growing (5% year on year).
There are 29 countries in the world that speak French, it is one of the most spoken language in the world and fifteen of those are in Africa.
Africa in parts is politically unstable, meaning that Dubai is a safe base for French speaking professionals to do business in this region and many also speak local North African dialects.
Dubai is an international hub, as much for airlines and logistics as for international businesses covering the Middle East, North Africa, and West Africa - all of which have large French-speaking populations and French is the fastest growing language in Africa.
Today, a large number of French companies operate from Dubai. Over 600 French companies are now based permanently in the UAE only - this has led to large international conglomerates and business groups operating in the Middle East & Africa seeking French-speaking candidates.
Many French speaking candidates are actually multilingual. We often meet candidates who are fully tri-lingual (French, English, Arabic) and they are highly desirable to prospective employers.
French is also an official language for the United Nations and the African Union, and it has become pervasively used across the commercial world.
According to the Federal statistics of the Emirate, France is the forth foreign investor in the UAE behind United Kingdom, India and USA. France is the third foreign investor in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi & in the Emirate of Dubai.
The French language is used in every sector from aerospace, public transport, banking, insurance, renewable energy and oil & gas. Particularly in areas such as retail, luxury and hospitality where French companies are seen as global leaders.
We are certainly not bad in the food industry, we have several Michelin-star chefs who are globally recognised for their influence on the foodies worldwide!
After five years in the UAE, the demand for French speaking professionals shows no signs of slowing down... ALLEZ LES BLEUS ** !
France in the UAE:
- 4th largest foreign investor
- 4,5 Billion € of Trade in 2017
- +600 Companies