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Wallonia 'makes Belgium more attractive to investors'
Belgium now ranks as the 5th most attractive European country, one place up from 2011, according to Ernst & Young’s ‘2013 Barometer of Belgian Attractiveness’. The barometer is based on the number of foreign investments in Belgium, which rose from 153 to 169 (+10.5%) between 2011 and 2012. As has been the case for many years, the United States remains the leading source of investment in Belgium with 41 projects (38 in 2011), ahead of direct geographical neighbours, including France (21 projects). Although the number of investment projects has increased from 74 to 80 in Flanders, the increase in the national score can mainly be attributed to Wallonia, since the number of projects in the region has risen from 39 to 52 (+ 30%), which represents the region’s second best score over the last ten years (after the record year of 2009). In terms of employment, the two regions are neck and neck, with an average of 22 jobs created per project in both cases. The province of Liège accounts for half of the projects and the number of its investment projects has risen strongly from 9 to 23. Hainaut is the second most attractive province with 19 projects in 2012. “These two provinces are mainly competitive in terms of logistics and production, although they are fairly diversified since the six sectors of the competitiveness clusters are represented there”, notes Philippe Suinen, CEO of the Wallonia Foreign Trade & Investment Agency (Awex).