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The Warsaw Voice » Other » March 5, 2008
Silesia. Good Prospects
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Out in Front
March 5, 2008   
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Despite a temporary slowdown of the economy, investors are still interested in Poland and its best-developed provinces. It is in the top ten of the world's most attractive countries in terms of business prospects. A report entitled Investment Appeal of Europe 2007 confirms Poland's high ratings.

The prestigious survey by the Federation of European Employers was compiled by the Ernst&Young international consulting company. Another report, drawn up by the Gdańsk Institute for Market Economics, contains just as interesting findings. The key conclusions from the reports and the procedures which were used in the analysis were unveiled Dec. 17 at the headquarters of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ). The report pinpoints the Polish regions with the greatest chances of obtaining business investment. In an in-depth document entitled The Investment Appeal of Provinces and Sub-Regions in Poland, Silesia province has once again taken the lead.

As in previous reports, the authors evaluated regions in terms of their investment appeal to the industry and services sector. The report also took into consideration their use of new technologies. Polish provinces and sub-regions underwent detailed evaluation in respect of the development of their economic and public infrastructure, labor force and initiatives in seeking investors. The findings of the report match those from last year and compared to other regions in Poland, Silesia province got the best ratings overall.

In terms of investment appeal, Silesia province has for years been ahead of other regions in Poland. The province owes its position to highly qualified staff and labor costs which are still lower than in other countries in Europe as well as other thriving Polish regions. Another magnet is the highest urbanization rate in Poland (almost 79 percent) coupled with a population of almost 5 million, which makes Silesia a very promising market. These factors guarantee good prospects for prosperous business now and in the years to come.

The report gives particularly high ratings to the powerful and well-developed economic and public infrastructure in Silesia province. Further assets include the best transportation network and highest quality of roads in Poland. Silesia also stands out as a very dynamic province which efficiently implements mechanisms to seek potential investors.

Silesia province also owes its exceptional position to a strong scientific potential that makes the region the second largest academic center in Poland. Silesia is home to over 112 institutions which account for 12 percent of Poland's research and development potential, including 36 centers for science, research and development (with six centers of the Polish Academy of Sciences), 46 development centers and 14 universities and academies which carry out their own research. The research and development sector focuses on environmental protection, new technologies in energy, automation, electronics, IT and construction.

Such rapid progress in science and new technology sectors would have been impossible without adequate telecommunications and IT infrastructure. Back in May 2006, the Adam Smith Center sounded a warning about high prices and limited internet access in Poland which could become the main hindrance to the rise of an information society economy. The past year was a turning point in this respect, both in Silesia and the rest of Poland.

Data from NetTrack SMG/KRC shows that the number of internet users in Poland has exceeded 12.7 million and around 40 percent of Polish citizens aged 15-75 use the internet on a regular basis. The above are average figures, and the actual number of people with online access varies from 54 percent in Pomerania province to 30.5 percent in Świętokrzyskie province. The survey also shows that the level of personal income has a smaller impact on internet use than education and place of residence. Internet use can be seen as the most reliable indicator of how well contemporary societies are developed. In this respect, Silesia province has received very good ratings as well, taking the fourth place after Pomerania, Małopolska and Lubuskie provinces.

The only weak point which experts from the Gdańsk Institute for Market Economics have found in Silesia province is an insufficient level of public security. Nevertheless, Silesia has received the highest ratings in terms of general appeal, ahead of Lower Silesia and Mazovia provinces.

As the main assets of Silesia province, the report names the highest efficiency in seeking investors and the province's well-developed economic and public infrastructure. The transportation infrastructure, availability of labor force and labor costs received average ratings.

Jan Bogulski
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