Atomium, Brussels during daytime – photo by @fotografierende

AI Strategy 4 Belgium

The AI 4 Belgium Coalition and Their Draft Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

Belgium has made the initial step towards an ‘ambitious and official’ Belgian AI strategy. They will start implementing some of the coalition’s recommendations. The recent report AI 4 Belgium is what I will recover in this article.

We live in exciting times. We believe a key force behind social progress can be technological progress, of which Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now one of the principal drivers. AI can help us to anticipate diseases, cut energy consumption, transform tedious jobs into exciting ones, decrease the cost of many products and better manage our traffic. But more importantly, this technology can set us free, granting us more time for the things that define our humanness, like family and creativity, or — simply put — the pursuit of happiness.


The document has four objectives:

  1. Put artificial intelligence and its implications at the top of the Belgian (federal and regional) political agenda. In more concrete terms, urge the political leaders to make AI and its implications one of the top priorities of the next government, complementing ongoing initiatives
  2. Inspire the public debate on the required actions to undertake. Support the public to understand the implications of AI and its importance on their own and their children’s lives
  3. Encourage the development and deployment of human-centred AI
  4. Provide a first version of an overarching Belgian Artificial Intelligence Strategy by aligning all stakeholders in the wider ecosystem

Who has written this report together?

AI 4Belgium Coalition

  • Ann Nowé, VUB
  • Bart De Smet, Georges Theys, Ageas
  • Bruno Schröder & Lorelien Hoet, Microsoft
  • Erik Mannens & Tom Dhaene, UGent
  • Fons Leroy & Guido Van Humbeek, VDAB
  • Frank Robben, Sociale Zekerheid
  • Frédéric Pivetta, Dalberg Data Insights
  • Gregory Renard, xBrain
  • Hans D’hondt & Michel Van Hoegaerden, FPS Finances

The Recommendations

  • Set up a new learning deal — a new learning deal; a universal skills building program for adults and more digital — as well as human — skills for their youth.
  • Develop a responsible data strategy — a robust and up-to-date legal framework, ethical principles and more transparency. Build a data ecosystem that facilitates more responsible data-sharing with reinforced open data policies.
  • Support private sector AI adoption — demystify AI through a lighthouse approach (training programs, large-scale events and social-impact projects). Accessibility to AI through a national AI hub.
  • Innovate and radiate — they propose to position Belgium as Europe’s AI lab through sandboxes and large-scale collaboration within academia, leveraging Belgian transposition of the GDPR. They recommend creating more AI-related training programs, more focus on practical applications and more selective migration. Lastly, they suggest supporting the growth of our AI companies through an investment fund and by differentiating our expertise.
  • Improve public service and boost the ecosystem — they propose that public institutions rethink their own roles and evolve towards a platform approach. Secondly, more innovation-friendly procurement. Lastly, we creating a Chief Digital Officer role to organise internal transformations and launch large-scale transversal projects.

A few principles to ensure a sustainable implementation:

  1. ensuring continued trust from the public,
  2. a European approach,
  3. collaboration between all stakeholders, a grass-roots/community-led approach,
  4. focus on specific areas (such as healthcare/life sciences) and,
  5. lastly, daring to be ambitious and audacious.

This will require an investment of at least EUR 1 billion by 2030.

I will elaborate further on this when I get back to the document.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 221. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My current focus for 100 days 200–300 is national and international strategies for artificial intelligence.



AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.

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