Pascal Smet regrets the absence of a Flemish government in Senegal

Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet (one.brussels – Vooruit) regretted that Flanders was not politically represented during the Belgian economic mission in Senegal. Smet is similar to federal and Walloon political representatives.

Brussels Secretary of State Pascal Smet, responsible for foreign trade and urban planning, among other things, visited the new city of Tiamniadio during a diplomatic mission in Senegal. This should free up the bustling capital city of Dakar.

The city is forty kilometers from Dakar. The Senegalese government established the venue in 2013-2014, and since then many luxurious buildings have been built, such as the Cité des Nations Unies, the Dakar Arena and a new 55,000-seat football stadium. That didn’t leave the Brussels Secretary of State unmoved either.

In the long term, Senegalese authorities want to build 40,000 houses in Diamniadio, fifteen ministries, a university and a financial district. These are divided into four “thematic” districts, separated by existing roads.

With modern infrastructures, Senegal wants to position itself as a cultural city internationally. For example, it attracted the 2026 Summer Youth Olympics.

Smet noted that despite the good approach, there are many challenges, especially in the field of mobility. Although Place Diagne Airport is accessible by train via a track, “the city is very car-focused”. Brussels is also known for it. During the visit, Secretary of State Brussels shared lessons learned from “its mistakes” in this area.

Without Flanders

According to the cabinet of Flemish Prime Minister Jan Zambon (N-VA), the Flemish government considered Senegal “politically and economically insignificant”. Much to the displeasure of Smet, who believed that Belgium should continue to be represented collectively. Especially since “Flanders has opportunities” and many Flemish companies participate in the work led by Princess Astrid.

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“We have a strong delegation from the trade agency Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) with us to make the necessary contacts and conduct negotiations.” According to the Cabinet, the absence is not a political statement. “We are making choices. The foreign affairs agenda is already well filled after the Covid period. The prime minister now wants to be political in Flanders.”

There are only two state missions per year. Apart from Senegal, Australia is also on the agenda this year. Last year there were three exports: Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. Later Jamban always traveled with him.

Ferdinand Woolridge

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