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Belgium in the Ranks

Johanna Vijverman, Policy Officer, AmCham Belgium

In our 2019 Priorities for a Prosperous Belgium (#PPB19), we set the challenge and ambition for Belgium’s next federal and regional governments to achieve a top ten ranking in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index within the next ten years. This report ranks 140 countries based on their competitiveness measured across twelve policy domains. Belgium is currently ranked 21st.

We use the Global Competitiveness Index as a benchmark to measure the long-term success of policy initiatives and implementation, because the main concerns of our member companies for investing and doing business in Belgium align closely with those areas where Belgium has the greatest room for improvement in the rankings: the labor market, country governance, infrastructure and taxation, four of the themes in our PPB19. We also keep a close eye on Belgium’s position and progress in other international rankings to monitor our strengths and areas for improvement.

Given Belgium’s strong logistics ecosystem, it is no surprise that the country takes the bronze medal in the Logistics Performance Index and is even world leader when it comes to international shipments and timeliness. We notice a similar high ranking (4th place) in the Global Connectedness Index, which measures the state of globalization for information, trade, capital and people flows.

As for foreign direct investment, Belgium attracted 29% more FDI projects in 2018 compared to the previous year, pushing the country up from the 8th to the 5th most attractive destination in Europe for foreign investors, according to EY’s Attractiveness Survey. On a global level, A.T. Kearney’s Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index ranks Belgium 18th, three spots higher than 2017.

To better assess Belgium’s performance on an international level, we look at the position of our neighboring countries, most notably the Netherlands. General rankings, such as the Global Index of Economic Openness, the Global Competitiveness Index and the Ease of Doing Business report rank Belgium 20th, 21st and 45th respectively, while the Netherlands is on 3rd, 6th and 36th place. Belgium needs to step up its game if it wants to keep up with the competition.

Belgium has many assets to offer to international investors, but it doesn’t fully use its potential yet, which is illustrated by the recurring character of the main problems that are holding back further growth. AmCham Belgium stands ready to work together with the next governments, based on the policy recommendations in our PPB19, to help Belgium climb the competitiveness ranks and attractive more foreign investment!

Overview of Belgium’s rankings





Logistics Performance Index (2018)

The World Bank


Productive Country (2018)

The Conference Board


Global Connectedness Index (2018)



Europe Attractiveness Survey - FDI (2019)



World Talent Ranking (2018)

International Institute for Management Development (IMD)


Global Entrepreneurship Index (2018)

Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI)


International Business Compass (2018)

BDO, Hamburg Institute of International Economics


Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (2019)

A.T. Kearney


Global Index of Economic Openness (2019)  

Legatum Institute


Global Competitiveness Report (2018)

World Economic Forum


World Competitiveness Yearbook (2019)      

International Institute for Management Development (IMD)


Ease of doing business (2019)

The World Bank