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Wallonia: driven by foreign investment

In 2017, foreign companies invested €682 million and generated 2,009 new jobs in Wallonia, divided between 89 different projects, according to the most recent data from the Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency (AWEX).

2017 was the fourth best year for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Wallonia since 2000 in terms of job creation – a reminder that foreign investors are job creators. Although fewer investment projects were started last year than in 2016, the average amount invested and the average number of jobs created per project both increased year-on-year. After France and India, the United States was the third most important source of foreign investment in Wallonia in 2017, accounting for around 15% of the total FDI inflow (€100.6 million of €682.5 million).

35 of the 89 projects started in Wallonia last year were greenfield investments, whereby a company builds its operations from the ground up. Metronom Health, a US biotech company specialized in diabetes management, for example, chose to establish its international headquarters in Mont-Saint-Guibert. The remaining 54 projects were expansions of already existing activities. Foreign companies mainly invested in information and communication technology (341 jobs), construction (287 jobs) and logistics (231 jobs). Continuing these trends, already in 2018, Google has announced a €250 million expansion of its data center in Saint-Ghislain.

Between 2000 and 2017, Wallonia attracted over €12.6 billion of foreign direct investment, divided between 1,531 projects and generating at least 31,201 jobs. Over this time, the US was the most important foreign investor in Wallonia, investing €2.66 billion and creating 5,318 direct jobs. Most foreign investment in Wallonia since 2000 has been concentrated in the chemistry, life sciences, agrofood and IT sectors. These numbers demonstrate the long-standing confidence of US and other international companies in Wallonia and Belgium.

AmCham Belgium supports the efforts to improve Belgium’s attractiveness for foreign investors and is ready to work with all levels of government to build on these figures and continue the positive evolution for the whole country: we want international companies to say #Yes2Belgium!

Check out our blog post on FDI in Flanders!