Kuwait Times - - In­ter­na­tional - Words by H.E. Am­bas­sador Piet Heir­baut

Dear Read­ers,

Iwant to thank the Kuwait Times for giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity, on the oc­ca­sion of King’s Day, to present my coun­try to you. Most of you know Belgium as the land of fries and waf­fles, comic books and of course, high qual­ity choco­late.

Yet, my coun­try has so much more in store. Belgium is in the top 3 of most Glob­al­ized coun­tries in the world, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est KOF in­dex of Glob­al­iza­tion . We are in fact the per capita big­gest ex­porters in the world as 80 % of our pros­per­ity stems from sell­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices abroad. This has led to many suc­cess sto­ries on a global scale, some of them in Kuwait.

Like the State of Kuwait, the King­dom of Belgium at­taches a lot of im­por­tance to peace and sta­bil­ity on a re­gional and global scale. There­fore my coun­try is can­di­date for a non-per­ma­nent seat in the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and we hope to join Kuwait in the coun­cil from Jan­uary 2019 on­wards.

The cel­e­bra­tion of King’s Day is the per­fect oc­ca­sion to bring our coun­tries even closer to­gether and I am look­ing for­ward to work­ing with you in the next com­ing years.

Yours truly,

Piet Heir­baut

Am­bas­sador of the King­dom of Belgium to the State of Kuwait.

In­sta­gram : bel­giu­minkuwait

Face­book : #Bel­gianEm­bassyKuwait Web­site : kuwait.diplo­ Belgium – Your part­ner in the cen­ter of the Euro­pean Union

A Ma­jor lo­gis­tics hub

Thanks to its lo­ca­tion in the throb­bing heart of Western Europe, Belgium of­fers easy ac­cess to mil­lions upon mil­lions of con­sumers. As a re­sult, many in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies have cho­sen Belgium as their bridge­head for con­ti­nen­tal Europe and have ben­e­fited from two added as­sets, the coun­try’s ex­cel­lent in­fras­truc­tures and the high qual­ity of its work­force.

Since the days of the in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion, in which Belgium played a pi­o­neer­ing role, the coun­try has never ceased to in­no­vate. In­deed in­no­va­tion is the key to Belgium’s fu­ture eco­nomic suc­cess in the tra­di­tional in­dus­trial sec­tors and in the new high tech in­dus­tries. In 2017 Belgium was in the top 3 of the “In­no­va­tion In­di­ca­tor” – an in­no­va­tion rank­ing of 35 coun­tries. The list is based on a study con­ducted by the Ger­man Fraun­hofer In­sti­tute for Sys­tems and In­no­va­tion Re­search (ISI) and the Cen­ter for Euro­pean Eco­nomic Re­search (ZEW).

Uni­ver­si­ties are with­out a doubt the main cat­a­lysts of fun­da­men­tal and ap­plied re­search in Belgium. For one thing, uni­ver­si­ties have a num­ber of tech­nol­ogy trans­fer of­fices (TTO’s) which are re­spon­si­ble for com­plet­ing the del­i­cate tran­si­tion of a given project from the lab­o­ra­tory to a start-up com­pany. Every year Bel­gian uni­ver­si­ties are in­stru­men­tal in set­ting up dozens of spin-offs, some of which go on to be­come big play­ers in the global econ­omy.

A show­case of Bel­gian Know-How is bio­pharma : around 4200 re­searchers work in the R&D lab­o­ra­to­ries of the Bel­gian Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try. The com­pa­nies and their em­ploy­ees ben­e­fit from a unique busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment that has made Belgium the sec­ond-big­gest ex­porter and the third big­gest pro­ducer of medicines and vac­cines in the Euro­pean Union. Look­ing back over the last fifty years, Belgium has also been at the fore­front when it comes to de­vel­op­ing and ap­ply­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies and the In­ter­net and pro­mot­ing the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion.

A high level ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent ed­u­ca­tion re­ports of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD), Belgium has the third best ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem amongst the 35 OECD coun­tries. Thanks to out­stand­ing teach­ers and a flex­i­ble ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, our coun­try has scored con­sid­er­ably bet­ter than the world av­er­age.

This is also re­flected in the per­for­mance of Bel­gian uni­ver­si­ties at the global level. Five Bel­gian Uni­ver­si­ties ranked in the top 250 in the World Univer­sity Rank­ing 2018. Most Uni­ver­si­ties also of­fer an English speak­ing cur­ricu­lum, es­pe­cially at the Mas­ter’s and PhD level. Kuleu­ven which oc­cu­pies the top spot among them par­tic­i­pated in the 2017 Q8E­duEx stu­dent fair last month.

Re­search co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Belgium and Kuwait on So­lar en­ergy - Imec a World Renowned re­search cen­ter

Belgium’s best known state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy cen­ter is with­out a doubt IMEC, which spe­cial­izes in com­po­nents for semi-con­duc­tors and nano-tech­nolo­gies. IMEC works with the world big­gest ICT com­pa­nies to cre­ate the world’s small­est el­e­ments. The cen­ter has a clear mis­sion : “We as­pire the im­pos­si­ble and aim for rad­i­cal in­no­va­tion”. Based in Leu­ven, (Belgium) it has a staff of 2200 and also has premises overseas. Imec and Kuwait Univer­sity have been suc­cess­fully con­duct­ing joint re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the field of silicon so­lar cell tech­nolo­gies since 2012.

In­no­va­tion, the Key of the suc­cess of the Bel­gian Econ­omy

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