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From 21 to 25 May, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, representing His Majesty the King, is leading an economic mission to Senegal. On Wednesday, the official delegation will leave Dakar to visit new investment projects in Bandia and Diamniadio by Belgian companies with a long-standing presence in Senegal. They will also highlight the Belgian contribution to the development of a value chain in the vaccine and biotechnology sector. On Thursday, the focus will be on the network and know-how of Senegalese alumni in Belgium, as well as on investment opportunities in the agri-food sector.
Princess Astrid is accompanied by a ministerial delegation including Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and the Federal Cultural Institutions, Hadja Lahbib, Deputy Minister-President of the Walloon Government and regional Minister of for Economy, Foreign Trade, Town and Country Planning and Agriculture, Willy Borsus and Brussels State Secretary responsible for Urbanism and Heritage, European and International Relations and Foreign Trade, Pascal Smet.
On Wednesday 23 May, Princess Astrid and the delegation will go to Bandia, to inaugurate the ultra-modern lime factory of the Belgian group Carmeuse. Since March 2022, Carmeuse produces locally high-grade lime for industrial gold mines in Senegal, Mali and Guinea.
Next, Princess Astrid will inaugurate, in Diamniadio, new recycling and production facilities of the Compagnie Industrielle des Fibres Sénégal. This Belgian company, with a presence on the African continent that spans almost 70 years, produces then jute and now propylene bags for flour or for agricultural use.
The recently created business and service centre of Diamniadio, some 40 kilometres out of Dakar, hosts ministries, UN agencies present in Senegal, as well as companies and research centres active in the agricultural, service and medical value chain sectors, in particular vaccines.
Princess Astrid and the official delegation will first visit the Institut Pasteur's MADIBA project, which aims to produce up to 300 million vaccine doses per year. This could revolutionise access to vaccines in Africa and bring greater autonomy to the African continent in terms of production of vaccines and essential health products. Two Belgian universities (KULeuven and ULB) and companies participate in the MADIBA project: Unizima, a subsidiary of Univercells (biotechnology), and the engineering firm My Engineering.
Princess Astrid and the official delegation will also have a high-level meeting with the leaders of IRESSEF (Institute for Health Research, Epidemiological Surveillance and Training) to explore new and strengthen existing partnerships between Belgium and Senegal in the pharmaceutical field.
In the evening, Minister Lahbib and her Senegalese counterpart, H.E. Aïssata Tall Sall, will launch a project to support ten women leaders in the Senegalese public administration. The Egmont Institute will implement this project funded by the FPS Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of Belgium.
Princess Astrid and the official delegation will attend the official launch of the Dakar Forum, in the presence of Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour, during an event on interculturality and digital connectivity, organised by hub.brussels.
Thursday 25 May starts with an alumni breakfast, in the presence of Princess Astrid and the official delegation, as well as the Minister of Finance and Budget, H.E. Moustapha Ba. Former Senegalese students in Belgium will share the added value of their experiences, each partnerships in their own right, for themselves and for Senegal.
A signing ceremony, marking more than thirty investment or academic cooperation agreements, will close the Belgian Economic Mission to Senegal.
The full programme and all useful information on the Belgian economic mission to Senegal are available on www.belgianeconomicmission.be
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