Coronavirus Recovery

President Macron hosts tech leaders ahead of French digital summit

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the European start-up ecosystem event 'France Digitale Day 2019' conference at the Elysée Palace in Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the European start-up ecosystem event 'France Digitale Day 2019' conference at the Elysée Palace in Paris. AFP - JULIEN DE ROSA

French President Emmanuel Macron has gathered leaders from the world of high technology and the digital economy at the Elysée palace ahead of this year's France Digitale Day summit, which starts on Tuesday. This year's theme is the role of start-ups in exploring new ways of living in a turbulent world. 

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There were fewer visitors at the Elysée's "French Tech" gala on Monday night to mark the opening of France Digitale Day.

One hundred entrepreneurs joined President Emmanuel Macron to hear about technology's role in navigating the pandemic.

Macron highlighted the digital sector's robust health and strong recruitment power, saying that it was responsible for creating up to 30 percent of new jobs, even during the lockdown.

This, in part, was due to the rise in home deliveries, virtual meetings and teleworking, using new digital tools.

Supporting tech sector

In the first half of 2020, the technology sector has secured investment superior to the amount it had attracted at the same time last year.

Aware of its potential, the French government has also stepped in to invest.

Earlier this month, authorities unveiled a 7-billion-euro stimulus package for tech companies out of its 100-billion-euro pandemic reboot rescue plan. 

The money is intended for start-up infrastructure investment and digital transformation.

Alternative living

Monday's event saw presentations by three of the companies that performed especially well during the health crisis: Mobile video game publisher Voodoo, the marketplace start-up Mirakl, and biotech company Innovafeed that uses proteins from insects to produce animal feed.

The French president also flagged up new areas where the state is keen to invest, such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and digital health.

In addition, funds will be invested in online services that ensure the continuity of education, the Elysée said.

The event set the tone for Tuesday's Digitale Day summit in Paris where the theme of this eighth edition is "Alternatives", exploring new ways of living in a turbulent world. 

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