The leading sectors

Alongside those sectors where Wallonia is among the world leaders (steel-making, metal construction, glassware and heavy chemical), a new generation of businesses is emerging which are focused on high added value sectors and which are benefitting from the support of private and university research centres and intense R&D activity.

In Wallonia, six sectors have been structured into centres of competitiveness as part of the regional economic development plan.

Other sectors of activity are again organised into clusters.

  • renewable energies (Tweed cluster)
  • sustainable management of buildings (Cap 2020 and eco-construction clusters)
  • waste treatment (Val+ cluster)
  • photons technology, light components (Photonics cluster)
  • plastic products (Plastiwin)
  • telecommunications, information technologies and communication (Twist and Infopole TIC clusters), which in particular feeds an entire audio-visual channel (cinema, digital comics, amusement parks, serious and social games, transmedia…) which are recognised at the global scale.

Numerous businesses in all these sectors have achieved a truly international reputation, with some of them now ranking as world leaders. The biggest majority of these are SMEs (which account for 95% of Wallonia's economy); these companies are dynamic, flexible, and innovative and relay on multi-lingual sales times and a highly qualified workforce. Wallonia's central position within Europe and its multi-channel communication infrastructures also guarantee them speedy delivery terms and just in time services.

Some examples of today's products and technologies:

In the traditional sectors: lime production, maintenance and engineering (boilers, turrets, galvanising lines), the manufacture of metallic pebbles, cranes for sea ports, hollow glass cutting machines), machines tools for oil and gas exploration, textiles and technical felts)

In the innovative high-tech sectors: vaccines and biotechnological products, the manufacture of carbon nanotubes, research and diagnostic instruments for molecular biology, radio-isotopes for clinical diagnostics, electronic instruments and systems for the aerospace industry, the manufacture of telescopes, image digitalisation for slow motion replays, digital cinema logistics and broadcasting, measuring equipment for radio tracking, digital simulation software, instruments for the ophthalmic industry, the manufacture of industrial measuring systems, telephony solutions for trading rooms, synthetic foam products.

In more unusual areas: remote-controlled flying cameras, billiard table cloths and billiard balls, the manufacture of rice cakes, synthetic corks for wine bottles and even soft toys…

The portal for Walloon exporting technology companies (AWEX)
The portal for Walloon centres and clusters (DGO6 Public service in Wallonia)
The portal for technological expertise in Wallonia (Agency for Technological Stimulation)
The ICT platform for Wallonia (Walloon Telecommunications Agency)