Belgian royal family arrived in Pretoria last night
The Belgian royal family arrived in Pretoria last night. Photo: FB / Belgian monarch

The king and queen of Belgium have arrived in South Africa for an official visit until 27 March, at the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is the Belgian monarchy’s first official state visit to South Africa, in a demonstration of the strong bilateral relations that exist between the two countries.

The State Visit will serve to expand and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and revitalise economic relations with a focus on trade, foreign direct investment, and tourism.

South Africa and Belgium are also pursuing cooperation in renewable energy and in particular, green hydrogen.

Belgium is one of South Africa’s most important economic partners and many of South Africa’s exports enter Europe through the Port of Antwerp, which is the second largest in the European Union.

South Africa enjoys a healthy trade surplus with Belgium with organic chemicals as the key export, followed closely by diamonds and motor vehicles.

Belgian companies are also significant investors in the South African economy.

Belgium is traditionally among the ten major sources of international tourists to South Africa.

Relations between South Africa and Belgium are managed through a Joint Commission that meets at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers.

Mr Alvin Botes, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation hosted the Fourth Meeting of South Africa – Belgium Joint Commission in Pretoria on 8 November 2022.

His Majesty the King of the Belgians’ The official Belgian delegation will comprise political, economic, and academic leadership including the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hadja Lahbib, as well as Ministers-Presidents and representatives of the regions and communities of Belgium.

The programme of the monarchs will include official engagements with President Ramaphosa and members of the government as well as visits to Johannesburg and Cape Town where they will engage with academia, business, and civil society, and visit historical and cultural sites according to a statement from the Presidency.