Wallonia appears regularly on the list of the most attractive regions in Europe. In recent years, global giants such as Microsoft, Google, and H&M have decided to locate there. But, the most notable example is probably that of GSK bio, one of the leading vaccine manufacturers in the world, which has developed its main research and production centres in Wavre.
AN ATTRACTIVE REGION
According to Ernst & Young's Belgian Attractiveness Survey, Belgium remains in 2019 in the top 5 European countries that attract the most foreign investment.
Following a record year in 2018, Belgium maintained almost the same level of foreign investment in 2019: 267 new investment projects were initiated including 197 entirely new projects, confirming the attractiveness of the country.
Foreign Investment in Wallonia : key figures
Between 2000 and 2019, €15.5 billion was invested in Wallonia by foreign companies. These investments generated 36,743 direct jobs.
The United States and Flanders have invested the most and created the most jobs in Wallonia since 2000.
Italy and France are also major investors, representing respectively 11% and 9% of the total amount invested in Wallonia over the past 19 years.
When it comes to sectors, the NICT sector comes first in terms of the sums invested, while logistics is the leading provider of jobs in terms of foreign investment.
Growth of the Belgian economy
In recent years, Belgium has enjoyed sustained economic growth. In 2016, over the entire year, it increased by 1.2%. More sustained growth is expected for 2017 (1.4 %) with even more for 2018 (1.9 %). With 2% growth, boosted by the measures adopted by the government to limit labour costs, exports also constitute a powerful driving force for economic growth.
The current conditions and future prospects attract to Wallonia successful companies, confident investors, qualified workers and researchers who are renowned in cutting-edge sectors.
A culture of partnership
Created in the frame of the Marshall Plan, clusters bring together members (manufacturers, universities, research or training centres, etc.) that are active in a specific area and want to collaborate and share their skills. In addition to the setting up of actions that allow these members to get to know each other better, inter-member partnerships are also formed within clusters.
These clusters aim to reinforce industrial or commercial synergies, carry out R&D and lead training or investment projects.
Six clusters are currently recognised in Wallonia: Biowin (life sciences), Skywin (aerospace and aeronautical sectors), WagrAlim (agri-food sector), Logistics in Wallonia (transport and logistics centre), Mecatech (engineering and new materials sector) and Greenwin (environmental technologies sector).
These clusters also include training centres, research centres, universities and enterprises.
Medium-sized European regions ranking - Financial Times 2016
Global Retail E-Commerce Index 2015 by A.T. Kearney
Annual index of the most innovative countries in the world of the German research institute Fraunhofer