Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Belgium region Wallonia open for SA businesses expanding to Europe

The Wallonia export investment agency, AWEX, is active encouraging South African businesses expanding into Europe to make the southern Belgian region of Wallonia their home base. Belgium region Wallonia open for SA businesses expanding to Europe Wallonia, recently named one of the European Commission’s two preferred European Creative Districts because of its strategy to drive innovation, offers a favourable tax regime, grants and commercial property pricing designed to attract foreign investment and expansion into the region. Several South African companies, including Bidvest, NTP, Sappi, Mondi and The Airplane Factory, operate from Wallonia. A meeting facilitated by AWEX in 2015 has also catalysed the expansion of SA-headquartered IT giant Dimension Data in the region. Dimension Data, which already has a strong presence in Belgium, has forged a partnership with Belgian firm Win to launch a R105 million data centre in Villers-le-Bouillet near Liege. The new Win Tier III data Centre is now at the heart of Win’s ‘Cloud One’ enterprise service offering. “The Dimension Data - Win data centre partnership is the result of a trade mission contact initiated in February 2015, when South Africa was designated as a focus market of AWEX,” says Jean-Pierre Muller, head of the Awex office in Johannesburg. “Following this initial contact, our IT experts in Wallonia took over the task of identifying opportunities for data centres in Wallonia and will remain the primary contacts for Dimension Data any further developments.”