Investment agency wraps up ‘Flanders Room’ in Davos


Flanders Investment & Trade and minister-president Jan Jambon met potential investors at the World Economic Forum this week in Davos

Record year for investments

Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon was at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, meeting business leaders and politicians in the “Flanders Room” to encourage investment in the region.

Addressing investors at the event, De Tijd reports, Jambon said he was not blind to the fact that Flanders, as a small, open economy, was vulnerable to shocks in the global economy. He made reference to Brexit, US trade policy, tensions in the Middle East and slow growth in Germany.

“That’s why we invest in innovation,” he said, “and that is why the Flanders Future Techfund must bring innovation to the industry.” He confirmed that the Flemish government was committing €75 million as a starting budget for the fund, which was first announced last year and aims to build closer ties between research and industry.

Representatives of Flanders Investment & Trade (Fit) are also attending the Forum in Switzerland, which gathers the world’s economic, business, political and academic leaders. The delegation is based in the Flanders Room, a space decorated in yellow and black and flying the Flemish flag. Today is the final day of the Forum.

In many cultures it’s important that the highest political representatives are present and visible

- Jan Jambon

“The idea is to welcome people here who are interested in Flanders, to inform them about investments,” Jambon told Radio 1’s De Ochtend. He has had talks with leading politicians and heads of industry to present Flanders as a destination for new investments, or to help businesses expand existing investments in the region.

“It’s important to be here,” he added. “In two days you can see a huge number of business leaders from the top companies in the world. Fit could attend alone, but in many cultures it’s important that the highest political representatives are present and visible.”

Foreign companies invested a record amount in Flanders in 2019 – a total of €5.2 billion, creating more than 5,000 jobs, particularly in research and development and the chemical sector. “There has never been so much invested in Flanders,” Jambon said. “We have many assets, knowledge institutions and their spin-offs, and the market is starting to see that.”

Photo: Minister-president Jan Jambon in the Flanders Room
©Courtesy Jan Jambon