« L’urgence de rendre l’industrie plus attractive, de former les compétences et de libérer des terrains pour bâtir des usines »

« L’urgence de rendre l’industrie plus attractive, de former les compétences et de libérer des terrains pour bâtir des usines »

Emmanuel Macron had given the impression of stepping over the presidential election with the launch, in 2020 and 2021, of two initiatives going beyond the first five-year term: a recovery plan of 100 billion euros to restore the economy; and France 2030, endowed with 34 billion over five years, to prepare for the future by directing investment towards innovations in transport, energy, space or biomedicines. The two plans aim, among other things, to revive the manufacturing industry, which now weighs only 10.1% of national wealth, far from the 16% of the European average.

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For what benefit on employment and the creation of industrial value? A report by the consulting firm PwC published on Thursday May 12 estimates, in its reference scenario, that this share could rise to 12% in 2030. This would represent 68 billion euros of additional added value, the creation of 431,500 direct jobs and indirect, nearly 98 billion in investments and a sharp reduction in the trade deficit, which has just reached 100 billion over one year.

Train skills

This implies, according to PwC, an effort by companies, which will have to spend 2.50 euros for each public euro of France 2030 invested, on the model of the “hydrogen plan”. Four sectors would be the main beneficiaries: electronic computing, electrical equipment for low-carbon transport and certain industries, recycling of non-ferrous materials and plastic, pharmaceutical industry. We can even dream of a scenario more “offensive”, where the private sector would invest four times more funds than the public sector and would generate 500,000 new jobs…

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These forward-looking scenarios are serious, but they presuppose a good execution of recovery plans. It is far from certain, warns Olivier Lluansi, author of the study with Vladislava Iovkova. The former adviser to François Hollande at the Elysée underlines the urgency of making industry more attractive, training skills and freeing up land to build factories, which is difficult because of the imperative of “zero net artificialisation” lands. Without underestimating the risk of competition from foreign countries developing the same sectors at a forced march. Automotive batteries are a good example, where Germany already has a head start. There is always a great risk of not making the best use of public funds. Or, worse, watering the desert.

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