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Belgium believes in South Africa

18 November 2019

Celebrating King’s Day in Pretoria Mr Didier Vanderhasselt, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to South Africa wished Princess Elisabeth a happy birthday. She turned 18 this year and is the first female heir to the Belgium throne. Sophie Wilmès is currently Prime Minister of Belgium and she is its first female head of government. And South Africa has its first gender equal cabinet. In a world where the focus is on gender equality, Belgium and South Africa seem to be making strides.

Photo: Mr Didier Vanderhasselt, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium, Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director General of Sports, Arts and Culture and Fourie du Preez, a former Springbok with the University of Pretoria Youth Choir (Embassy of Belgium)

The University of Pretoria Youth Choir rendered the national anthems of both countries beautifully and went on to entertain guests with their attention-grabbing repertoire. They will participate in the World Choir Games which Belgium will host next year.

Belgium believes in South Africa said Vanderhasselt, and it is expanding its relations here. 50 Belgian companies attended the Investment Summit this year seeking investment opportunities in South Africa. The chancery in Pretoria is being extended with a fusion of Belgian and South African design and it is increasing the number of staff in South Africa.

Mr Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Belgium visited South Africa in 2018, when he signed a memorandum of understanding enhancing cooperation between the two countries. The main objective of the visit was to expand and strengthen bilateral relations, revitalize economic relations with a focus on Trade, Foreign Direct Investment and Tourism.

South Africa and Belgium are working together at the United Nations Security Council where they occupy a non-permanent seat between 2019 and 2020.

Vanderhasselt congratulated South Africa on being crowned Rugby World Champions and as a guest (and his neighbour) introduced Fourie du Preez who represented the Springboks between 2004-15.

Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director General of Sports, Arts and Culture said that sport has the ability to bond a nation. He was speaking about the overwhelming reception received by the Springboks on their arrival home with the Web Ellis Cup as well as in all the cities they toured as world champions.

Mkhize said that Belgium and South Africa have a shared heritage and culture and outlined the cooperation between the two countries.

Guests enjoyed Belgian culinary delights such as Stella Artois beer, waffles, fries and a variety of canapes.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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February/March 2020

 
 
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