CMA CGM Group commits with Esa to the development of the Lebanese start-ups and becomes SMART ESA’s investment partner


International leader of maritime transport, CMA CGM is pleased to announce the signing of a partnership agreement with the incubator SMART ESA in the presence of Mr. Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman General Manager of CMA CGM Group and ESA General Manager Mr. Stéphane Attali.

The CMA CGM Group becomes the first investment partner of Smart ESA and thus confirms its key role in Lebanon’s economic development.

By signing this agreement, CMA CGM Group wishes to contribute to the development of Lebanese start-ups through:

  • Giving them a privileged access to its worldwide network and expertise
  • Participating in their capital

This partnership comes in line with the CMA CGM Group strategy which aims at making digitalization one of the pillars of its development. This innovation thus accelerates, completes and reinforces initiatives already launched by the group such as:

  • Appointment of the Chief Digital Officers team worldwide.
  • Creation of CMA CGM ventures and MERIT ventures, investment funds dedicated to innovative technologies.
  • Development of partnerships with leaders in e-commerce field.
  • Creation of a global incubator in Marseilles, etc.

This partnership boosts as well the key role of the CMA CGM Group and its family-run holding company MERIT in Lebanon.

“After having enhanced over the past few months the maritime and logistic activities that tie Lebanon with the entire world, we are now engaging in the development of Lebanese start-ups with SMART ESA. This partnership emphasizes at the same time our attachment to Lebanon and the key role that we wish to play in its economic development”, declared Rodolph Saade, Chairman General Manager of CMA CGM Group, upon signing this partnership

“This project represents a strong symbol of the impact of France and its expertise and particularly its engagement in entrepreneurship and youth in the region. This cooperation perfectly reflects the close links that tie France and Lebanon since it is concluded between two major economic actors, CMA CGM Group and ESA both of Franco-Lebanese roots. It is in perfect accordance with the common intention of our two countries to support digital transformation and job creation in Lebanon”, said Jacques De Lajugie, Consultant Minister, Head of the Economic Service and representative of M. Bruno Foucher, French Ambassador to Lebanon.

“We are very pleased to be able to conclude this partnership at ESA. In fact, this partnership strengthens the long existing ties and confidence with CMA CGM. And today, we naturally wanted to reinforce these ties to allow our talented young Lebanese to benefit from them. Since the start, entrepreneurship and innovation have always been in the heart of the pedagogic project of ESA. A further step was made in 2016 with the creation of Smart ESA, platform for French expertise in entrepreneurship and digitalization in Lebanon and the Middle East region. Today, the partnership with CMA CGM will take this ambition to a new level, by allowing our start-ups to have access to interesting investments and boost their business”, concluded Stéphane Attali, Director General of ESA.



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