Bill Gates Joins Belgium in Showcase of Innovation and Global Partnerships

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Davos '24

BRUSSELS – Belgium is opening its first ever House during the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Annual Meeting, held from 15-19 January in Davos, Switzerland. The Belgium House is an initiative from European Business Summits and a group of leading Belgian companies, with the support of the Belgian federal government, to showcase Belgian technology and innovation.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is hosting three flagship events at the Belgium House encapsulating Belgium’s commitment to drive progress for all by embracing openness, innovation and global partnerships.

On Tuesday, Belgium demonstrated its green transition leadership during the “Clean Tech Innovation on the Road to Net Zero” discussion. In the presence of their Majesties the King and the Queen of the Belgians, the panellists – Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Rafael Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency; Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO, DEME; Pascal De Buck, CEO, Fluxys; and Ilham Kadri, CEO, Syensqo – explored innovative partnerships that turn ideas into our Clean Tech reality.

On Wednesday, Belgium’s status as a major pharma valley in Europe inspires the conversation on the “Challenges and Opportunities for Europe’s Biopharma Sector. What Role for Belgium?”. Michel Demaré, Chair of the Board of Astrazeneca, Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi, Julia Spencer, MSD Associate VP, Tineke Van Hooland, Deputy Secretary General of the Belgian Life Science Industry Federation, and moderator Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, discuss the future of life sciences in Europe.

Additionally, the panel “Tech.Money.Br.AI.n – What If Money Had a Conscience?” highlights Belgium’s strengths in financial innovation by reimagining money for this century. The panellists – Colin Bell, CEO, HSBC; Marc Raisière, CEO, Belfius Bank; Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director, Europol; and Kent Walker, President Global Affairs, Google – explore what a super-br.AI.n could tell us about economies and societies by rethinking our web of payment systems like a neural network.

“As Belgians, it’s in our DNA to embrace openness for innovation and partnerships,” said Prime Minister De Croo. “Davos is the perfect forum to invite others to join us in uncovering sustainable and innovative solutions for global challenges.”

Further programme highlights include Tuesday’s panel “How to Safeguard Europe’s Main Industrial and Logistics Hub?”, hosted by Annelies Verlinden, Minister of the Interior, on Belgium’s critical infrastructure facilitating the flow of goods, services, and people. On Wednesday, Petra De Sutter, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, participates in the “Fact & Fiction: The Future of Democracy” panel, exploring the role of science and fact-based worldviews, and AI.

The Belgium House is a partnership with key Belgian industry players: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), Syensqo, Ackermans & van Haaren, DEME, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Belfius and Fluxys.

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