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KwaZulu-Natal strengthen relations with Belgium

2021-11-03 10:15:00

Durban - Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal hosted a Belgian delegation aimed at showcasing the advantages of using Belgium as a gateway to Europe for KwaZulu-Natal companies. The event was targeting South Africa exporters who want to streamline their operation in Europe either by setting up a distribution centre in Belgium or by partnering with Belgian local logistics players.

Stemming from the excellent sister city relationship between Durban and Antwerp in Belgium, the delegation of about seven high-level government officials and business leaders from Belgium visited the province of KwaZulu-Natal to discuss various areas of cooperation including trade and economic development.

The mission was led by Jean- Pierre MULLER, Trade Commissioner for Wallonia Export & Investment Agency. This trade mission was actively supported by H.E Didier Van DERHASSELT, Ambassador of Belgium to South Africa and Tineke VAN DE VOORDE, Business Development Advisor of Port of Antwerp.

Trade & Investment Advisor at Wallonia Export & Investment Agency, Julie TIRTIAUX welcomed the guests and TIKZN Manager at the Gauteng Office, Ms Donnee Kruger, led the discussion on the competitive and comparative advantages of investing in KwaZulu-Natal. “The plans to modernise the Port of Durban are aimed at improving its efficiency and reclaim its status as the best-performing port in Africa. This will help the port perform its role of anchoring economic growth and serving as a gateway to southern Africa and the entire continent,” said Kruger.

Foreign trade is the lifeblood of the Belgian economy, and Belgium is also among the top 10 recipients of foreign direct investment in the world. Bilateral trade between South Africa and Belgium is thriving. Belgium is South Africa's 12th customer, with total exports from South Africa to Belgium of R36.92bn in 2020.

H.E Didier VANDERHASSELT, Ambassador of Belgium to South Africa said the delegation’s visit to KwaZulu-Natal was a great opportunity for Belgium to strengthen trade relations with KwaZulu-Natal. “Belgium provides a good connection to the rest of Europe, a thriving entrepreneurial environment, and more than 500 million consumers within a radius of 800km. The economic fabric of Belgium mainly consists of SMMEs with a remarkable ability to fuel economic growth and create new job opportunities. ”said VANDERHASSELT.

The European Union, as a bloc of 27 members, is the world's largest single market and also South Africa's most important trading partner providing 30% of the country's total imports and accounting for 24% of exports. At the very heart of the European Union, there is Belgium, one of the most dynamic and open economies in the world.

Growing the local economy and creating employment opportunities remains core of the economic recovery and reconstruction and recovery plan. The province is positioned as a key investment destination capable of unlocking development opportunities which have included bringing the marginalised into the economy and providing support to historically disadvantaged communities.


Contact Person: Ms Angel (Mkhethie) Shabangu

Cell: 076 062 3779/ 0764686139

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