The 2nd Africa - Central Europe Economic Cooperation Forum - 30-05-2014
Graf. PTWP

At the 2nd Africa – Central Europe Economic Cooperation Forum which took place on 8 May 2014 in Katowice, during the 6th European Economic Congress, it was said that the actions initiated in 2013, the aim of which was to extend the cooperation between Poland and Africa, have now moved to the next, more intensive stage.

During the last year, Polish government delegations paid numerous economic visits to African countries and the trade flows between Poland and the countries in question have increased by 20-22 per cent. Both parties have signalled their readiness to cooperate within the scope of trade and investments.

During the Forum, the representatives of Senegal, Tunisia and Libya confirmed that these countries hope for a wider scope of cooperation with Poland. Not only are they willing to offer their tourist services, but they also wish to export many goods to Poland, including such branches of the economy as the automotive industry or the fertiliser industry. They count on investors in many sectors, such as the energy and mining industry, resources and RES, chemistry and infrastructure. Togo, for instance, the representatives of which attended the European Economic Congress, established its first relations with Poland.

Resources might prove crucial for economic exchange with Africa. However, the iron law of cooperation has to be an exchange of benefits: Africa offers its resources and Europe offers its investment capital, experience and know-how. Representatives of Senegal, Zambia and Kenya said that they remain open to European investors and count on their support not only with the extraction of resources, but also with the construction of processing plants and road infrastructure.

The eyes of investors are on Africa because economic growth on that continent is counted among the highest in the world, the investment needs of African countries are huge and the African consumer market is large. Although there is some considerable investment risk involved, investments made in Africa may result in a higher rate of return than elsewhere.

Business in Africa can be made not only by large enterprises, but also by small and medium-sized enterprises because the African market has not been dominated by giants. In the first period of their business activity, the investors can count on the support of the Polish government. It is important for them to build relations and learn the reality of African countries instead of relying on the Internet and email contacts. Polish people have to understand the specific characteristics of each of the states in question, as well as the fact that they are countries with different cultures and business dynamics. For their part, the Africans have declared that they will simplify the bureaucracy, provide facilitation of investment financing and ensure political stability.

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