King Philippe and Queen Mathilde prepare for their first Belgian state visit to South Africa

Read also. Experts praise the first interview with Crown Princess Elizabeth: “She is the only one who really enjoys it” (+)

This is the first Belgian country visit to South Africa. Philip himself traveled to South Africa several times. As crown prince, for example, he was present in 1994 at Nelson Mandela’s swearing-in as South Africa’s first black president, in 2006 he led a trade mission in the country with Mathilde and – in the meantime as king – attended Mandela’s bee funeral.

During the state visit, Philippe and Mathilde will visit three cities: Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. In their wake, Federal Foreign Minister Hadj Lahbib, Prime Ministers Elio Di Rupo (Wallonia) and Rudi Vervoort (Brussels), Flemish Finance Minister Matthias Debendaele, among others, as well as business and academic leaders, travel with them. In total, approximately 140 people will participate in the state visit.

The largest Belgian community in Africa

The purpose of the trip is to strengthen relations between Belgium and South Africa. The country is the second largest economy in Africa and has a leading role in the continent. It is also part of the BRICS countries along with Russia, China, India and Brazil. However, it faces challenges: it is heavily indebted amid slowing economic growth. South Africa has also been experiencing daily power outages for months as electricity has to be rationed due to aging power infrastructure.

South Africa is not only an important partner on a geopolitical level. The country has the largest Belgian community in Africa. The Federal Public Service’s Department of Foreign Affairs estimates that about 10,000 citizens reside there. About 7,600 Belgians are registered at the Embassy in Pretoria or the Consulate General in Cape Town, but such registration is not compulsory.

See also  Not only "Hank the Tank", but also two other Orcs responsible for looting in California | the animals

business partners

In terms of trade relations with South Africa, Belgium exported 1.4 billion euros worth of goods (+22 percent) and imported 3.2 billion euros (+31.1 percent) during the first nine months of last year. South Africa is a major customer for chemical commodities, pharmaceuticals, and mineral products (oil), while the country supplies us with precious stones and precious metals (particularly platinum and diamonds).

The official program of the state visit will begin on Thursday with, among other things, a reception for the Belgian royal couple by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and a state banquet in Pretoria. The program includes many political, economic, academic and cultural events, as well as visits to towns. The Belgian delegation will return on Monday.

Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *