Dear Readers, Belgians and Friends of Belgium,
The Belgian National Anthem’s (the Brabançonne’s) central strophes go as follows:
“And your invincible unity; Shall have as an immortal motto: The King, and Law, and Liberty!”
These verses, that we sing together every year, evoke well what unites Belgians and the values allowing us to establish close partnerships, like the one we share with Ghana.
The King, our Head of State, is the guarantor of our national unity, as is the President of the Republic in Ghana. I am proud that the diplomatic relations between our countries are excellent and that in 2018, HRM Queen Mathilde, who is a UN Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals, was welcomed in Ghana for a 3-day official visit.
The Law is the rule of law, in the broadest sense. It is what allows us to tighten our relations, and to develop durable economic ties. Today, Belgium’s and Ghana’s trade flows are increasing and more and more Belgian companies invest here to create employment. In 2021, an important economic mission of the three Belgian Regions took place, opening the path to more and more Belgian actors in Ghana.
Finally, freedom, which is so dear to us, is a cardinal value for Belgium, the European Union, as it is for Ghana. The one that is threatened when citizens are bombed in Ukraine as a result of the tragic war of aggression or when citizens fall victim of barbaric terrorist attacks on the African continent. It is our shared project, at the fundament of the well-being of our Nations.
On the occasion of the 15th of November, let me extend my best wishes to all the friends of Belgium in Ghana! Aan alle Landgenoten, een prettige Koningsdag toegewenst! Je souhaite une belle fête du Roi à tous les compatriotes !
S.E. Ambassador Michael Wimmer
King’s Day, the 15th of November
November 15 is the name day of Leopold (the name of the first as well as the second and fourth Kings of the Belgians). It has been celebrated in Belgium since 1866. November 15th is an occasion for Belgian Communities all over the world to gather and pay tribute to their homeland.
Belgium at a Glance:
Belgium – a country of regions
Belgium is a country of 30 528 km2, in North-Western Europe (neighboring France, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands). It’s capital is Brussels and has a population of 11 million. The country has three official languages : Dutch, French and German. Belgium is a federal state made up of three Communities (the Flemish Community, the French Community and the German speaking Community) and three regions (the Brussels-Capital Region, the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region).
The Belgian monarchy
Belgium is a constitutional monarchy. King Philippe, the current monarch, is the seventh King of the Belgians. The King and Queen and the other members of the Royal Family also represent Belgium abroad (state visits, economic missions and international meetings), while at home fostering close relations with their citizens and promoting public and private initiatives that make a contribution to improving society.
Brussels – an international city
Over 1,000 public and private international organisations have established their headquarters in Brussels, Belgium’s capital city. These include the main institutions of the European Union (EU) and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The presence of these international organisations means that Brussels has one of the largest communities of foreign diplomats and journalists in the world. The city also attracts many other professionals, among them members of think tanks, academics, experts and lecturers, as well as multinationals and international service companies.
Belgium – an attractive country for investment
Belgium is a key international economic player, ranked 14th in the world for both exports and imports by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2020. Moreover, it is one of the most popular countries for investors, attracting billions of euro of foreign direct investment each year. A company in Belgium has access to 200 million consumers within a radius of just 500 km, thanks to the country’s central geographical location and its high-quality logistical infrastructure, encompassing seaports and inland ports, canals, airports and rail and road (including motorway) networks, with these transport systems being continually adjusted to meet the needs of the economy. There are many other factors, too, behind Belgium’s success, for example its highly skilled, multilingual and flexible workforce, the desire to be close to the international decision-makers in Brussels, a host of financial and tax incentives, affordable property prices, Belgians’ legendary hospitality and excellent social security. You can find more information at www.investinbelgium.eu
Belgium – a country of gourmet experiences
Belgium is a country with a myriad of breweries and different beers. Nowhere else in the world can you encounter so many local, authentic and colourful beers with such an enormous range of tastes and flavours. Another Belgian speciality is chocolate, which has built up a global name for itself with its unbeatable quality and taste. Furthermore, for Belgians French fries (known as chips in the UK), sold at the country’s many chip shops (friteries/frituren), are a national institution and how to cook them is kept a closely-guarded secret. Belgians have also been a pioneer when it comes to making cheese. With over 300 varieties, Belgium is proud of its reputation as a cheese-making country.
Belgium in Ghana
Belgium is an important trade partner of Ghana. In 2021, Belgian goods (mostly mineral products, chemicals and live animals) worth of 579,7 million euros (up 77% in comparison with 2020) were acquired by Ghana and Ghanaian exports (mostly foodstuff, vegetable products, fats and oils) to Belgium amounted to 237,7 million euros. One of the products at the heart of our exchanges is, of course, cocoa – the key ingredient of fine Belgian Chocolate. Belgian Development Actors (the Belgian Development Bank Bio-Invest, the Trade for Development Center of the Belgian Development Agency Enabel, the Belgian Platform For Sustainable Cocoa “Beyond Chocolate”, the Belgian Instrument for Private Sector Development “Business Partnership Facility” and the Belgian NGO Rikolto) deploy programs in Ghana to reach the country’s sustainability goals in the field of cacao. Belgium is also an important investor in Ghana, and an important number of Belgian Companies are contributing to job creation. Some of the well-known actors are SIAT, SOCFIN, Jan De Nul, Denys and, of course, Brussels Airlines providing a direct air linkage between Accra and Brussels. Belgium has a Honorary Consul, Mr Dimitri Avraam, based in Accra and there are about 200 Belgians established in Ghana contributing to the country’s development in a wide array of fields.