Wallonia catches up with Flemish growth

17th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

The Walloon economy has grown slightly more than the Flemish economy over the past few years

12 December 2007- The Walloon economy has grown slightly more than the Flemish economy over the past few years. This was revealed in a study by the KBC bank. Nevertheless, Wallonia has structural problems that must be tackled.

Economic growth in the Walloon region is catching up with the growth in Flanders. Between 2000 and 2005, the average economic growth in Wallonia was 1.8%. In Flanders economic growth was 1.7% during the same period. (Belga) The Walloon economy had been performing poorly, partly due to antiquated industry. and high unemployment. 

The break in the negative trend is good news for the Walloon Region.

The KBC does not have an immediate explanation.

The so-called 'Marshall Plan for Wallonia' launched by the Walloon government was too recent to explain the trend reversal.

Analysts are optimistic, but point out that there are a number of structural problems in the Walloon region that still need to be addressed.

Unemployment in Wallonia, for example is at 12%, which is twice as high as unemployment in Flanders. What is the Marshall Plan for Wallonia?

In August 2005, the Wallonia government announced a number of measures, called the “Marshall Plan". The aim is a structural recovery of the Walloon economy. The one billion Euro project has five main objectives:

To develop areas of competitiveness in which Wallonia has the potential to become a European and even global leader. Five priority sectors were identified:

• Aerospace and aeronautics
• Life sciences
• Transport and logistics
• Agribusiness
• Mechanical engineering

To stimulate the creation of business opportunities by rapidly implementing exceptional measures aimed at encouraging risk-taking and promoting an entrepreneurial spirit.

To reduce taxes on companies, notably by creating tax-free zones that combine the availability of various incentives and tax exemptions.

To promote research and innovation in order to increase the competitiveness of our companies, making research more efficient and ensuring that it is better integrated in the economic landscape.

To improve the skills of workers and the unemployed by strengthening the linguistic skills of the Walloon citizens and by increasing the quality of education and training.

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