French overseas territories
There are 12 overseas territories: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Mayotte, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, and the Wallis and Futuna islands, which together have almost 2.6 million inhabitants. Because of its overseas territories, France is the only EU country that is present in three separate oceans. They help consolidate France’s second place worldwide in terms of maritime reach and make a telling contribution to the rollout of the country’s maritime and “blue growth” policies. These territories enshrine the future of energy as they are the “100% renewable energy” forerunners of the energy transition and the promotion of clean transportation.
French Guiana: a European presence in South America
French Guiana is located on the north Atlantic coast of South America. Its growth is based on its exceptional geostrategic location, a qualified and competitive workforce, and an abundance of natural resources. Aerospace-related activity, which is centered on the Guiana Space Centre and a number of research centers, mean that French Guiana has the second-highest proportion of research jobs in all of France’s regions, just behind the Greater Paris region.
French Guiana also has substantial resources (gold, iron, bauxite and diamonds) as well as major ecological treasures: the Amazon rainforest covers 95% of its surface area, i.e. over eight million hectares. Seafood-related trade puts Cayenne in fourth place for French fishing ports.
A growing market looking towards two continents
Located on the north tip of South America, French Guiana is the only region on the continent that belongs to seven European outermost regions. It bases its growth on its unique geostrategic position, offering investors a multimodal hub looking towards the American continent as well as Europe (international airport, maritime ports, water links and roads), its very high demographic growth (with a population due to double in size by 2040 to reach half a million inhabitants), a qualified and competitive workforce, and the richness of its natural resources.
French Guiana is growing exceptionally quickly: in 2017, it came third in South America in terms of GDP per inhabitant.
A productive base borne by the vibrancy of space activity, offering opportunities in several sectors
Three high-potential areas were accredited “Territoires d’industrie” in 2019: Cayenne, Kourou and Saint-Laurentdu-Maroni.
The Guiana Space Center in Kourou serves as an operational base for the Soyuz and Vega rocket launchers. It is set on nearly 700 sq. km. (270 sq. miles) of land and contains all the launching infrastructure used by Arianespace and its partners (production installations, preparation, assembly, etc.). Space activity (16% of GDP) and the presence of several research centers gives French Guiana the second highest share of jobs in research of French regions, just behind Ile de France Paris region). With 11% of employees, there are also a lot of business services set up here.
The agri-food, cosmetics, renewable energy, tourism, audiovisual production, healthcare and industry in a general manner… All of these sectors offer important opportunities to investors.
Startups are welcomed in incubators to develop their concept and find finance. French Guiana has a welcoming tech environment for entrepreneurs.
Important natural wealth
The Amazon rainforest covers 95% of French Guiana’s territory, amounting to more than eight million hectares. It comprises more than 1,200 species of trees, including numerous precious woods. The wood sector is one of the major economic activities.
The region hopes to lead a development strategy that will see it triple the volume of wood it uses in 10 years.
This exceptional wealth of biodiversity means that French Guiana is an ideal location for the development of biotechs, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Exceptionnal marine biodiversity
French Guiana has exceptional marine biodiversity, with around forty species of fish being sold.
Fishing developed with the industrial exploitation of two resources: snappers and shrimps. Fishing is the third largest sector by value of exports. Each year, around 5,000 tonnes of fish products are unloaded at different ports around the coastline, making Cayenne the fourth most important French fishing port.