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Chamber News and Recent Activities

9th Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Forum: building a brighter future through partnership

19 November 2014



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This fall, the ABLCC presented its 9th Arab-Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Forum «Building a Brighter Future through Partnership » in the premises of BNP Paribas Fortis. The Forum, which has become a not-to-miss event on the calendar of the ABLCC, brings together decision makers, government officials, diplomats, business executives, investors, and professional organizations from Belgium, Luxembourg, the EU, and Arab countries.

This year's event was attended by nearly 150 participants who were addressed by a distinguished panel of speakers, all recognized as leaders in their fields. These top-notch speakers shared their experiences and perspectives on topics from Banking & Finance, to Energy & Water, to Logistics and Infrastructure.


For this 9th edition of the Forum, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was the country in the spotlights and H.E. Mr. Didier Reynders, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Prime Minister, H.E.M. Umayya Toukan, Jordan's Minister of Finance, and H.E.M. Nael Al-Kabariti, Chairman of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, were the guests of honour.

In attendance were also a number of Arab ambassadors accredited to Belgium and Delegations from 9 Arab countries.

During the opening session, after a welcome note of Mr. Andre Deltenre, Head of Cash Management & Trade Finance for BNP Paribas Fortis, and Mr. Johan Beerlandt, Chairman of the ABLCC, the keynote speaker, H.E.M. Didier Reynders, said that this Economic Forum was a positive and constructive initiative and seized the opportunity to call for stronger trade and political relations between Europe and the Arab World. The other guest speakers, namely H.E.M. Samir Addhare, Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Morocco, Mr. Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, and H.E.M. Nael Al-Kabariti, Chairman of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, echoed the wish to further consolidate Euro-Arab relations.


The conference was devided into four panels. The first panel entitled “banking and finance” dealt with Arab countries in transition. The panellists closely examined the economic and financial outlook, the key challenges, and the European point of view. The session was moderated by Mr. Fouad Trad, CEO of Byblos Bank Europe, and the panellists included H.E.M. Umayya Toukan, Jordan Minister of Finance, Mr. Nabil Jijakli, Deputy CEO of Delcredere, and H.E. Baron Guy Quaden, Honorary Governor of the National Bank of Belgium.

The second panel “Jordan: a reliable partner and a world-class business hub” was dedicated to the guest country. This session was chaired by H.E.M. Montaser Oklah Al-Zou’bi, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. H.E.M. Ziad Homsi, President of Amman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, endeavoured to enrich our understanding of the Economic cooperation between Belgium and Jordan. To conclude the panel, Dr. Fawzi Al-Hammouri, Chairman of the Private Hospitals Association, focused on investments in healthcare in Jordan.

The third Panel “Energy & Water” emphasized the importance of sustainable solutions and was moderated by Mr. Ghassan Ejjeh, Senior Vice President of BESIX. The case of Arab countries from Algeria and Saudi Arabia, to the Middle East and North Africa, were examined. The panellists included Mr. Abdelaali Badache, Board President of the Algerian Regulatory Commission for Electricity and Gas (CREG), Mr. Faisal Al Quraishi, Chairman of Ali Zaid Al Quraishi & Brothers, Mr. Patrick Wilmart, Deputy Manager of Tractebel Engineering, and Mr. Rachid Bouhamidi, Director – Investment Banking Europe of BNP Paribas Fortis.

The conference closed with the panel session “Logistics and Infrastructure: where technology and innovation converge” chaired by Mrs. Evelien Staelens, Area Manager Middle-East and Africa for Flanders Investment & Trade. The panelists included experts in the field of logistics and infrastructure, like Mr. Mohamed Youssef, Regional Manager – General Authority for Investments and free Zones, Mr. Albert Pegg, Senior Advisor for the Port of Antwerp, Mr. Ghassan Kherfan, 1st Vice President of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, and Mr. Guy Ceunen, Commercial Director at Qatar Airways.

In conclusion, this Forum has been a suitable occasion for the participants to explore the various ways to expand their business activities to and with the Arab world, and served as a source of inspiration to face business challenges in an innovative way. It has also been offering its participants with the best opportunities for investments, cooperation and partnership.


Last but not least, the participants had the opportunity to establish contacts during a festive meal together, which brought the event to a close.

Multisectoral Economic Mission to Morocco

07-12 December 2014


To cap an amazing year of diversified activities, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in close cooperation with the Regional Foreign Trade Agencies (AWEX, BIE and FIT), and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, has organized a Multisectoral Economic Mission to the Kingdom of Morocco from 07 to 12 December 2014.

The Delegation consisting of representatives of 15 Belgian companies as well as representatives from AWEX, FIT, the Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg, and the Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg, headed to Morocco in search of business opportunities and commercial partnerships. It also enjoyed the valuable support of H.E. Mr. Frank CARRUET, Belgian Ambassador to Morocco, and of Mr. Alain Van Gucht, Consul General of Belgium to Morocco.


As evidenced by the success of this Economic Mission, Morocco is a partner of choice for Belgium. It has great potential and thanks to its profound economic transformation in recent years, it has, experienced a favorable economy. Indeed, the Moroccan economy recorded real growth estimated at 4.4% in 2013 and 3% in 2014. In 2013, Belgian imports from Morocco recorded an increase of 21.4% compared to 2012. As highlighted by the President of the Conseil Régional of Rabat, Mr. Abdelkébir Berkia, Morocco is “under-construction” and needs support from the various international economic players.

The Mission, which aimed at developing partnerships and cooperation as well as to preserve the good relations that have long existed between both countries at the economic and socio-cultural level, offered a varied and well rounded programme combining information sessions, B2B meetings, appointments between individual Belgian entrepreneurs and their Moroccan counterparts, as well as direct contact with the various authorities present on site. The Belgian Delegation was also heartily welcomed by Mr. Hassane Berkani, President of the Chambre de Commerce d'Industrie et de Services de Casablanca, and by Mr. Abdelkébir Berkia, President of the Conseil Régional of Rabat.


In the opinion of all participants, the various meetings left a very positive impression on them and they were pleasantly surprised by the dynamism of their Moroccan counterparts as well as their commitment to development. All agreed that the Mission was an enriching experience paving the way for good opportunities.

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