Belgium: still 5th top European investment place in 2020! 21/06/2021

According to the “Ernst & Young’s Attractiveness Survey”, Belgium welcomed 227 foreign investment projects – with 185 new investments and 42 expansion projects – which leaded to the creation of 5,098 jobs. The global pandemic pushed the number of projects down by 15% and the number of job creations by 5.6% compared to 2019 that counted 267 FDI and 5401 job creations.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Belgium managed to secure its 5th place in European ranking for FDI in 2020, behind France, the UK, Germany and Spain.

In a post-brexit reality, the UK became Belgium’s first investor while China raised remarkably its investment by almost doubling its projects in the country. France, the Netherlands, the USA and Germany completed the list of the top 5 investors in Belgium in 2020. The main activities which attracted a large number of investments are sales & marketing, manufacturing and business services, with 22 projects in the pharmaceutical sector.

Regarding the breakdown per region, Wallonia and Brussels welcomed 56 and 49 investment projects respectively in 2020. In terms of job creation per project, Flanders and Wallonia continue to maintain a strong trend of more than 22 jobs per project, while the projects in Brussels created fewer jobs.

Here is an indicative list of South African companies that already have a strong presence in Wallonia or Brussels: Bidfood (the market leader in Belgium for the supplies and services in the hospitality, institutional, catering and retail sectors); Dimension Data (the South African IT company made an investment of € 7 million in a data centre in Wallonia in 2016); Mondi and Sappi (two major operators in the paper industry in Belgium); The Airplane Factory (created a joint-venture with Sonaca Belgium in 2017 to assemble and certify internationally two-seaters aircraft).

If you are interested in investing in Belgium, do not hesitate to contact our office in Johannesburg:

+27 11 463 03 78