A number of Belgian entrepreneurs and financial experts have expressed their keen interest to forge links with Kuwaiti companies to promote bilateral economic and financial cooperation after they participated in a Kuwait Economic Forum here on Tuesday.

“When you come to Belgium you come to promote not only in Belgium, but all over Europe because Brussels is the capital of Europe,” Laurent Marliere, professor of economics told KUNA after attending the Forum.

“It is very interesting to see the point of view of Kuwait and we don’t see often players from Kuwait showcasing their capacity. And here we see Kuwait has mobilized very high caliber speakers demonstrating the capabilities that Kuwait has to offer,” said Marliere, who is also the director of ISIFN, a leading advisory firm for Islamic markets based in Brussels.

“It is very appealing to hear what the Kuwaitis have to offer. The planned vision 2035 is very convincing,” he said.

Arnoud Lust, CEO of VITO Middle East, a leading European independent research and technology organisation, said that for him it was the first introduction to Kuwait and its 2035 vision.

“It definitely gives the impression of an ambitious country. We are active in the Gulf countries and we are looking to invest in the fields of energy efficiency. I see that the environment for research and investment seems to be very positive in Kuwait,” he told KUNA.

Sam Servaes, Economic and Commercial Councillor at the embassy of Belgium in Kuwait, expressed his happiness that Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) selected Belgium to organise the Forum; the first in Europe.

“From the economic point of view I see it as the first step towards deeper economic cooperation. We like to work together for concrete economic cooperation. For example to bring big companies from Kuwait to Belgium and make synergies and collaboration with Belgian companies who are interested,” he told KUNA.

“From our side in Belgium we are also planning to do economic missions to Kuwait to bring Belgian companies there,” he said.

“We are inspired by Kuwait and although it is not an easy market but there are big opportunities in Kuwait,” Servaes added.

Christain Breydel, of the Brussels Invest and Export organisation, said it was really interesting for Belgian companies to have this kind of general introduction about Kuwait.

“It is really a first step for Belgian companies to have more interest for the Kuwaiti market. It is very interesting to have the first contact with those authorities. It was really interesting to hear about the presence of Q8 petroleum company in Belgium,” he told KUNA.

Brussels Invest and Export promotes and supports Belgian companies’ international expansion. It provides a shop window for Brussels to trade with the world and vice versa.

Nabil Jijakli, deputy CEO of the Belgian Credit Agency, CREDENDO, said it is very important that the Kuwaiti government has taken some strong commitments regarding the safety of foreign investment and secondly for the openness of the economy.

“The fact that they are coming to Western Europe, where we have an old relationship, is very important,” he told KUNA.

“In the Forum we had a lot of important people and officials and it shows that Belgium is an important partner. Belgium is an open economy and has its own skills and talent and is important to be seen as a partner for both sides,” added Jijakli.

Pieter Van de Velde, a manager-investor in the company called “9.5 Magnitude Ventures” said that for him, it was very important to see the future visions and investments that Kuwait is going to do.

“Coming from an investment fund, it is interesting to see if it could be in line with our future visions or not,” he said.

Van de Velde said he knew about the history and present of Kuwait, but now he has come to learn how Kuwait is going to be in 2035 and about its business models.

The Kuwait Economic Forum (Kuwait Vision 2035) was organised by the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) in collaboration with the Embassy of Kuwait in Brussels and KDIPA.

A large number of Belgian entrepreneurs, as well as Arab and Belgian diplomats and officials attended the one-day event.

Source: NAM News Network