Event Recap: Bart De Wever

The latest High-Caliber Speakers Series event featuring Mayor of Antwerp Bart De Wever saw over 150 attendees. 

Mayor Bart De Wever introduced the Belgian city of Antwerp as a “vibrant economic community” that is open for business. He explained that despite its small size by Asian standards, Antwerp is a prime gateway to Europe for the international community, with over 176 nationalities living in the city. He spoke of Antwerp’s resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that the city’s port remained 100% operational despite the hardships seen throughout the globe. 

De Wever then introduced a number of core plans that will help stimulate future growth, including a plan to optimise container storage capacity, construct next-generation port districts, and expand digital port infrastructure to improve sustainability. These plans aim to improve efficiency and best utilise Belgium’s limited port territory. The Mayor highlighted Anterp’s internationally-oriented economy, its FDI awards strategy and its focus on innovation in digital transitions. 

De Wever explained the plans to tackle the issue of traffic congestion with the ‘Big Link’, a 20 billion EUR infrastructure project to be completed by 2030 and cause massive economic growth going forward. Closing off his presentation, the Mayor commented on the increase in trade between Antwerp and Asia.

Following the main event, Mayor Bart De Wever answered questions submitted by attendees throughout the presentation. Most questions focused on the potential limitations of Antwerp’s port and how the city could continue to grow despite them. Other questions interestingly discussed how China’s Belt and Road Initiative would affect the city and whether a potential merger between the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam were feasible due to the European Union’s competition laws. 

Thank you to everyone who attended this event in our High-Caliber Speaker Series. We hope you will join us for our next one on 9 September featuring Ilham Kadri, the CEO of Solvay.