CEO Flanders Investment and Trade: "Flanders is a strong brand among foreign investors"

As the new CEO of Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT), Joy Donné hopes to have more impact than he had as a member of parliament for the Flemish political party N-VA. He told De Standaard on Saturday. In the coming days, he will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos along with some Belgian politicians and companies.

A few months ago, former MP for N-VA and ex-cabinet member Joy Donné succeeded Claire Tillekaerts as CEO of Flanders Investment and Trade. The organisation aims to promote international entrepreneurship among Flemish companies and SMEs. However, Donné realises this can be quite a challenge in today's global context.

"It will be difficult to maintain the strong investment figures of recent years in Flanders"

"It will be difficult to maintain the strong investment figures of recent years in Flanders," Donné told De Standaard. "Companies also seem to be looking more to the US for investment because of lower energy prices and President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act favouring US industry."

"Belgium and Flanders do not have as many subsidies as big countries like France and Germany. So the answer has to come from Europe, which has to become more resilient. However, decision-making at the European level is slower than in China and the US," said the FIT CEO.

Flanders' strong assets

Nevertheless, according to Donné, Flanders has some strong assets to conquer foreign markets. "Flanders is a strong brand among foreign investors because of the concentration of knowledge, talent, technology and industry in a small area. As a result, we can create specialised clusters, such as the Antwerp chemical industry. These are well positioned in the climate transition many sectors must go through. Foreign investors are also often interested in collaborating with universities."

On Monday, Donné leaves for Davos to represent Flanders. Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon (N-VA) is also travelling to the World Economic Forum, along with Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD), Foreign Affairs minister Hadja Lahbib (MR) and Deputy prime minister Petra De Sutter (Groen). The Belgian business sector will also be well represented during the event.


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