Crown Prince Philippe and Princesse Mathilde visited on Thursday Clarysse in Pittem company, Max Havelaar label, in West Flanders, which produces bath and kitchen textiles with materials from Africa. Their label works with cotton producers in the struggling African nation of Mali and they pay above average prices for the cotton to help that country when the same could be obtained for less. The agricultural cooperative also pays special attention to ecological issues and the higher prices go to provide social improvements in that country. Prince Philippe and Princesse Mathilde wanted to highlight the work and mutual benefit that this arrangement provides for the workers in Belgium and Mali together. They met with the workers and they were very honored and happy to meet the future King and Queen of the Belgians and were pleased to answer all of the questions they had about how things functioned there.
News media also reports that Monday Prince Philippe will be going far away to visit Astana, Kazakhstan (one of the former Soviet republics in central Asia). Tuesday he will meet with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbavev. This is to improve trading relations between Belgium and Kazakhstan and is part of a larger campaign of foreign trips, going all around the world that Prince Philippe is doing to help Belgian business and promote commercial activity with the country that is especially essential now when Belgium is in such debt and the economy going through a down period and new business is greatly needed. Prince Philippe is working hard for Belgium!