The digital era, the future of our economy


A report by international consulting firm, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), predicts that by 2020, the digital economy could create between 275,000 and 385,000 jobs in Belgium and increase our country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 45 billion euros.

Belgium has many assets and the potential needed to develop the digital sector which is booming. Our country is one of a leading group of European countries with an outward-looking economy and a successful digital infrastructure. Furthermore, our production is increasingly moving towards automation. The e-commerce market is developing but still has some way to go to compete with our neighbours.

During the formation of the current government, a ministerial portfolio for the digital agenda was created, which shows the importance that Belgium is attributing to this area. The Minister responsible for this, Alexander De Croo, is looking to create a climate favourable to the expansion of digitalisation in our country. As the BCG report suggests, technology development centres and university incubators (including start-ups) are being promoted, the labour market is moving towards greater flexibility and less taxation and investments in the form of venture capital are being encouraged.

At a European level, our efforts must include the creation of a digital single market, which, like the free movement of goods, services, people and capital, would enable "digital free movement". This market should be standardised in terms of both national legislation and taxation.

Digital development is a fascinating challenge with enormous potential for Belgium and for Europe. It should help to ensure our prosperity over the coming decades, provided that we seize the opportunity today.