President: Poland is a leader of growth in Central and Eastern Europe
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to be here. I want to thank PZU and Bank Pekao for organizing this event.
The growing presence of Polish businesses at the World Economic Forum is a sign of our country’s strong economic potential and status.
I am proud to say that Poland is a leader of growth in Central and Eastern Europe. In recent years our average annual GDP growth was at around 4%. In fact, this is one of the highest growth rates in Europe.
Poland has a very good climate to do business in. During my first term as President of Poland, my country was upgraded to a Developed Market status. It has a vibrant business environment with relatively low taxes and, above all, a pool of young talents.
This has been reflected in our great potential in the area of new technologies. The 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report has rated Poland 20th among the world’s best places to establish startups.
There is a number of factors indicating that Poland’s role as a tech hub will continue to grow in years to come. These include:
- Many top global technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and IBM are visibly extending their presence in Poland.
- Poland has a highly skilled workforce. This is the result of an excellent education system in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I would claim that interest in science and innovation is strongly embedded in our culture. Historically, Poland has produced many renowned scientists and inventors.
- Poland is the biggest economy in the region of Central and Eastern Europe. Our capital, Warsaw is already becoming a regional tech hub but the role of other cities, including Kraków and Poznań, is growing, with more and more centers of R&D (Research and Development) being established.
- Poland both geographically and politically, as an EU member, is attractive for businesses that wish to gain quick access to the European market. Our airports are opening new destinations every year, and we are also planning to build a new, centrally located communication hub.
- Finally, the Polish state has introduced policies to facilitate research and innovation. For instance, in 2015 the Polish government has introduced favorable tax conditions for companies investing in R&D. As a result, private spending on R&D already increased by 25%.
I strongly support all of these initiatives. Since the beginning of my presidency I actively supported innovation. I have launched a presidential program for startups called “Startups in the Palace”, which helps the most promising new tech companies to find investors.
I shared with you some thoughts about Poland. But one has to understand that the broader region of Central and Eastern Europe has also changed in a positive way.
Over the last three decades, the countries of Central Eastern Europe have undergone remarkable economic growth. Today the CEE countries put together are the 12th largest economy globally. We have become a growth engine for the whole European Union.
The GDP growth rates for our countries are strong. For example, in 2017 Poland was at 4.6%, the Czech Republic at 4.3%, Hungary at 4%, and Slovakia at 3.4%. This general trend continues. At the same time our unemployment rates are low.
I believe that the countries of our region will best use their full economic potential through close cooperation.
With this in mind, we launched the Three Seas Initiative in 2015.
Digitization has been one of its priority areas besides cooperation in infrastructure and energy connectivity.
One of the goals of the 3SI is to create platforms for enhanced digital trade, and research collaboration on cross border digital infrastructure.
Conditions are very promising. Between 2012 and 2016, our region’s combined digital economy grew by 6.2 percent a year. That is two times faster compared to Germany, France, UK, Spain or Italy.
It gives me great pride and pleasure to observe such a strong and positive tendency in the economies of my country and the countries of the region. At the same time we are preparing ourselves for a possible slow down. We are ready to introduce adequate measures, if necessary.
In this regard we believe that investment in the area of new technologies is the most effective strategy to increase productivity and foster economic growth.
This year in June we will, among other things, discuss this topic at the 5th Three Seas Initiative Summit in Tallinn, Estonia. As you know our Estonian friends are already very successful in the area of new technologies and digitalization.
I encourage you all to do business in Poland and consider your opportunities in the Three Seas region. And I hope to see many of you in Tallinn this June.
Thank you very much.