For the first time we met personally with Michel Dotta in Moscow as part of Monaco’s delegation on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Monaco. And at the same time we agreed to an interview for HelloMonaco. Here we bring you the results of the conversation between editor of HelloMonaco Olga Taran and President of the Monaco Economic Board Michel Dotta.
1) The MEB’s structure includes two departments – The Monaco Chamber of Commerce and Monaco Invest. What is the fundamental difference between them?
The Monaco Chamber of Commerce (MCC) supports the development of Monegasque companies on a local and international level, organising activities and offering a range of services: trade missions abroad, conferences and events in Monaco, and access to networks such as Monaco’s Diplomatic and Consular Corps and Chambers of Commerce worldwide. It is more concerned with ‘outbound investment’.
Monaco Invest’s (MI) main mission is to seek and support foreign business organizations and individuals who wish to set up in the Principality. It is more concerned with ‘inbound investment’.
And what are the main objectives of these two departments?
The MCC’s main role is to help Monegasque companies to network among themselves and to better know each other, and build a stronger business ecosystem as well as support them internationally with several trade missions every year.
Monaco Invest’s main focus is to attract new companies, new entrepreneurs to bring their economic expertise and spheres to Monaco and set up business activities within the Principality of Monaco, thus creating new jobs and wealth for the Principality of Monaco.
2) Who can become a member of the MEB?
Any company based in Monaco can apply and the MEB looks at the application form and decides whether to accept it or not. In 99% of cases companies are accepted. The fee is only 500€ per annum.
3) How many members are there in the MEB today compared with the last 5 years?
We are over 450 members to date, with a yearly growth of approximately 10%.
We hope to be reaching 500 members soon, perhaps at some point next year!
4) What are the advantages of MEB membership?
MEB membership gives a company all kinds of advantages, in particular access to many quality events.
There are many quality conferences that a member can attend with world renowned speakers such as for example Julien Marcilly, chief economist of COFACE, or Ludovic Subran, chief economist of Euler Hermes, who come and speak every year in Monaco.
The MEB also organizes large networking sessions between its members at the RDV des Adhérents several times a year.
Moreover, the MEB operates international trade missions with strong business delegations, ranging from 20 to 40 CEOs. This year alone we took over 40 business men and women to Sao Paolo, Moscow and Bakou, each time with great success.
5) Does MEB protect their members against unfair competition?
This is not in our remit.
6) What kind of assistance can MEB members receive from the MEB?
We can help them connect with business people, foster new business links and relationships both nationally, regionally and internationally.
Moreover, through our link and membership with ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) we give MEB members access to all the fellow Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the world.
Furthermore, we give access to networks such as Monaco’s Diplomatic and Consular Corps worldwide.
7) What are the main MEB achievements of 2016?
We aim to organize around 50 actions/events every year, which we managed even with the complicated economic climate and a lot of political uncertainty this year.
The highlights were the three successful international trade missions with over 40 people at each instance that I mentioned above. We also had resounding successes with over 250 members at each of our networking events ‘RDV des Adhérents’ which promotes local businesses and networking.
8) What challenges do you see for 2017?
We will aim to set up worthwhile and interesting events and conferences that give as many networking opportunities as possible for our members both locally and internationally in order for business opportunities to flourish.
9) What are the investment attractions of Monaco?
There are several reasons why one should consider Monaco as a business destination:
First of all – a dynamic economy with more than 4,700 companies and 52,000 employees on 2 km2. GDP growth is 7.2% and one of the highest GDP per capita in the world – €69,500. The economy is balanced and diversified. € 1 billion budget in which 30% has been invested in infrastructure and facilities for the past 50 years. A fiscal regime relying on indirect rather than direct taxation where VAT at 20% represents 50% of state revenue. And what’s more important unrivalled political stability – the Grimaldi Dynasty has governed Monaco for over 700 years.
– Monaco is a country where 130 nationalities live together in harmony and of course don’t forget about level of security with 1 policeman per 70 residents and a highly efficient and effective CCTV system.
And what’s more important unrivalled political stability – the Grimaldi Dynasty has governed Monaco for over 700 years.
10) What needs to be done in order to improve the investment attractiveness of Monaco?
We live in an increasingly globalised world in which territories and countries all around the world are competing for people, companies and wealth.
Monaco needs to take innovative and pioneering initiatives every year and we are very fortunate to have a Sovereign, H.S.H Prince Albert II, who does exactly that. Indeed, his priorities of working on projects, companies and people that are associated with innovation, clean and green technology and energy, sustainable development and the environment are the right focuses. These priorities help improve the investment attractiveness of Monaco and keep us in a very positive situation.
11) What kinds of investors and investments are welcome in Monaco and in what areas of investment?
First of all, as you know, space is an issue in Monaco so we are targeting companies who may not need much space to develop. That is why the priorities mentioned above are also the right ones.
Secondly, we are looking to attract investors and entrepreneurs in the fields of innovation, environment and sustainable development as we believe these are vital fields in the years to come combined with the sectors which already have depth and strength such as finance & insurance, corporate services, hospitality and retail, real estate and construction, and international trade.
12) What projects can change the image of the Principality?
The sea extension, which is a huge project that began works this year, will change the image of the Principality with the creation of 60,000 sqm of luxury real estate for residential as well as some commercial usage. There will also be a mini harbor for 40 yachts.
The SBM project One Monte-Carlo will also change the face of Monte Carlo with over 4,500 sqm that will be dedicated to luxury boutiques and 2,500 sqm to office space. There will also be a new exhibition centre which will enhance business tourism.
One must remember that Monaco invests over 30% of its budget every year (and this for over half a century) in infrastructure, which participates tremendously in the dynamism of this city-state.
13) You have been the Chairman of MEB since 2009, board member of Monte-Carlo Societé des Bains de Mer since 2010, and you are also president of one of the Principality’s longest-established estate agencies, Dotta Immobilier. How do you manage these three positions at the same time? What helps you to be effective?
To answer your question, it’s actually a question of organization and having the right teams, as with any president! It is a lot of hard work but a great pleasure and immense honor to serve my country to the best of my ability. It is also a very efficient way of having a transverse vision that serves each of these functions.
As the Monaco Economic Board has shown us in this interview, the future of investment in Monaco looks bright as it focuses on sustainability and diverse businesses and as Monaco continues to open to new opportunities and fruitful collaborations.