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A world of openness

Wallonia is a region that is naturally open to the world, a place where languages and cultures meet. It is very export-oriented and particularly welcoming. A region with a strong industrial tradition, Wallonia forged its identity through immigration. It has a young, internationally mobile and increasingly multilingual population. Walloon colleges and universities are listed in global rankings and have a very high percentage of foreign students.

Wallonia is involved in a number of research projects, as part of the European framework projects FP7, Horizon 2020 and COSME framework projects, and cross-border projects such as France-Wallonia-Flanders, Greater Region and the Meuse-Rhine Euregion.

Wallonia also supports scientific and technological cooperation outside the European Union. In the context of the French-speaking communities, the Wallonia-Brussels region has made a major contribution to the emergence of a French-speaking network of innovation stakeholders, namely the FINNOV network; in 2015 it hosted the second Global French Language Forum in Liège, based around the theme of creative Francophony, when 1,200 young people coming together from almost 100 countries to take part in more than 160 projects.

Wallonia also encourages its young people to make the most of all the international experiences on offer, whether as part of student exchange programs (such as Erasmus), internship programs in international organizations, or business-prospecting missions, for example, through AWEX and its Explort programme.

This openness to the world, which is reflected in its Feel Inspired "slogan", represents a real competitive advantage for Wallonia, due to both the potential for globalization among its economic and cultural stakeholders and its multicultural nature.

Feel inspired by our welcoming and high-performing region, one that is steeped in history, but resolutely forward-thinkig.

Did you know?

  • Although Wallonia represents approximately 0.1% of global GDP, Walloon businesses represent 0.3% of global trade;
  • On average, Walloon businesses make 70% of their turnover on exports, which is one of the highest export rates in the world (EU average: 30%).
  • Wallonia is a melting pot of 150 different nationalities.
  • More than 27,000 foreign students come to study in Wallonia every year.
  • The tourism sector registered more than 5 million overnight stays in 2014.
  • In 2016, the Financial Times ranked Wallonia in 7th position for average-sized European regions (in economic terms), due to the excellence of its policy for attracting foreign investments.
  • Wallonia came 3rd in the list of most attractive regions for e-commerce distribution centers (PwC study commissioned by the Flemish Institute for Logistics).
  • Wallonia also has the densest representation network in the world per inhabitant (almost 180 on the five continents).

International skills

Wallonia is part of Belgium, which is a Federal State. Belgium comprises three regions: Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels.

Wallonia has its own government. Its seven members are accountable to a legislative body: the Walloon parliament. This body has 75 members, who are elected directly for a five-year period.

The government and parliament sit in Namur, Wallonia’s capital.

Wallonia has complete autonomy over the powers transferred to it by the central State. These powers cover the following areas:

economic policy and employment, foreign trade and the promotion of foreign investments, tourism, applied scientific research and technologies, transport and public works, housing and land development, the environment and agriculture, energy and water, health and social aid policy, subordinate authorities and international relations in all these areas.

Wallonia aligns with French-speaking Brussels in the areas of schools and higher education, basic research, and culture. This is referred to as the "Wallonia-Brussels Federation".