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The Warsaw Voice » Business » November 28, 2013
Business & Economy
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Eyeing Africa
November 28, 2013   
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Polish businesses are increasingly interested in doing business with partners in Africa. This is where the government’s Go Africa project steps in, aiming to boost economic ties with a number of African countries.

“We should strengthen our relations with African countries,” said Poland’s Deputy Economy Minister Ilona Antoniszyn-Klik at a conference in Warsaw in November focusing on opportunities for business between Poland and African countries. “We are little known as a business partner for Africa. We believe that establishing closer economic relations will bring us closer to each other.”

According to Antoniszyn-Klik, the Polish government’s Go Africa program can play a special role in facilitating the development of economic ties and promoting Polish products in Africa. The program covers six countries, Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Algeria, and South Africa, with a combined population of more than 300 million.

Most of the countries covered by the program are in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a strategic region for Poland in terms of the development of trade and investment. These economies are expected to grow the fastest in Africa in the coming decades, and the same goes for trade with these countries. Despite the latest global economic slowdown, Africa has developed dynamically as a continent. Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies in the 2001-2010 period were from sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Sławomir Majman, head of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ), there are many investment opportunities in Africa. Thanks to the government’s business missions to Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, Ethiopia and Angola this year, Polish businesses have signed contracts in areas such as infrastructure construction, fisheries, construction materials, food and defense. “However, without strong government support, Polish businesses would not achieve much, if left to their own devices,” said Majman.

This is confirmed by Paweł Ossowski, Business Development Manager at Zarys Górno¶l±ska Centrala Zaopatrzenia Medycznego, a Polish medical supplies company that is preparing to start selling medical equipment in Africa. “Our analyses show that most transactions and business operations in Africa take place with relatively high involvement of the government or local politicians,” said Ossowski. “This is why it is essential to establish contacts at the political level.”

Zarys is interested in Africa because these markets offer huge potential and opportunities for rapid expansion resulting from recent structural reforms, according to Ossowski. “Things impossible for instance in Western Europe—which is dominated by big corporations and where it’s virtually impossible to bring a new brand to market—seem very probable in Africa, where there is a real chance to build broad brand recognition for our products,” Ossowski said.
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