Poland successfully managed its integration into the European Union since joining in 2004, and during the 2008-09 global financial crises it was the only member to experience growth. Poland is a high-income country with a large and diversified domestic economy.
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On the floor of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, Piotr Kajczuk, of the Exchange, watches an initial public offering, or IPO, for Vigo Systems. Vigo, a Polish company, builds tiny infrared sensors used by mi... Show More +litaries around the world and for space exploration; it joins about 500 other companies listed on the exchange. Open information, says Piotr Kajczuk, is important to the stock market’s success. “Access to information should be on an equal basis. The IFRS creates common ground to communicate on the market.”Bringing Poland up to international financial reporting standards is important for the economy overall, experts say, because clearer, more transparent financial information is the foundation for trust, and trust is vital for investment. “One of the key words is transparency,” says Małgorzata Mazurkiewicz, a chartered accountant. “This world is a global village, if you want to invest, if you want to attract investment, you have to have global standards.”From Balance Sheets to EthicsAnd global standards include ethics, says Roland Python, who runs the Swiss Contribution Office in Poland, which is funding the project to train future accountants and auditors. “We also have an important module, we think it is very important, it is about ethics. So it is not only about respecting the guidelines and the norms but also to put a bit of ethics in this whole financial environment.” The training is comprehensive and aims to teach workplace skills, says Krzysztof Burnos of the National Chamber of Statutory Auditors in Poland. “I think we are in the first beginning of the process, in which the auditors came through the theoretical training, and now the auditors expect the second phase will be launched, practical workshops which are very important.” Show Less -
What do innovative companies really need?If we don’t know, let’s ask them. The World Bank is conducting in-depth interviews in four regions of Poland to learn from innovative entrepreneurs what their ... Show More +actual needs and barriers to growth are. Seasoned experts conduct the interviews with the companies’ top management, based on a structured questionnaire.The resulting information, likely to be the first of its kind in Poland and Central Europe, will help detect the types of behaviors and types of firms—“champions,” “emerging champions,” and “sleeping beauties”—that could provide the highest rate of return on public investments to support R&D and innovation.Which economic activities to prioritize?The World Bank is also experimenting with so-called “Smart Labs.” These Smart Labs bring together fifteen-plus cutting-edge professionals, from innovative companies, academia, research and development institutes, the government, local leaders and the World Bank. The aim of Smart Labs is to analyze the business potential of a potential growth area like “healthy food” or “smart homes.”The focus would then move to whether there is enough critical mass for R&D-driven growth in a certain area, and the best ways for public spending to support such growth. This sort of collaboration is the first of its kind in Poland and one of the first attempts in Europe.How to “crowdsource” innovative ideas?Crowdsourcing is another idea for improving the quality of the dialogue between the public sector and small- to medium-sized businesses. The World Bank will rely on crowdsourcing and ask companies to respond to questions about the opportunities and the barriers to innovation.The crowdsourcing tool would be a cost-efficient method to collect specific ideas on how to improve the way public money is spent. The answers to these questions can be used to engage companies about the best ways to fuel growth and innovation both locally and around the country.The key to success will be to convince companies to participate in the crowdsourcing. The World Bank plans to experiment with various inducements, from allowing the participating companies to compare themselves to industry peers to distributing lottery tickets for innovation vouchers to fund the companies’ ideas and a feedback loop will support the crowdsourcing process.The more firms that participate in the process, the more ideas that will be generated.Where do companies want to put their R&D money?So far, officials from Poland’s national and regional innovation- support institutions have not yet sufficiently analyzed the data from thousands of R&D grant applications. That means they haven’t been able to tease out new business and technology trends, and adjust public spending accordingly.The World Bank is now helping these institutions create a new way to collect and analyze data from more than 15,000 R&D and innovation grant applications to the National Center for R&D (NCBR). These applications reflect the real interests of the private sector in new technologies, supported with their own money.The objective of the data analysis is to build “innovation maps” to better understand where companies see the real potential for innovation and R&D-based growth, and where the technological and business strengths of the country lie.All of the four elements—firm interviews, Smart Labs, crowdsourcing and innovation maps—form a new process called “entrepreneurial discovery process” (EDP) to be piloted in four selected regions of Poland. The insights from the pilot will help create a process for replication across the country and beyond. Show Less -
As a result of shrinking younger populations, countries in Central Europe and the Baltics will face several economic and social challenges, such as:reductions in the size of the labor force, which cou... Show More +ld present risks to economic growth;fiscal pressures that could strain countries’ efforts to provide adequate services as well as income security to their aging populations; andchallenges to further productivity growth if firms fail to adapt to an aging workforce.To effectively address these challenges and continue to realize gains in economic output and converge to EU-15 income levels, Central European and Baltic countries could benefit from early and coordinated policy initiatives covering labor markets, healthcare, education, pensions, long-term care, migration, and family policy:Active aging: Providing more flexible work arrangements, such as increased part-time work for workers transitioning to retirement and parents of young children, can promote employment and longer working lives for an aging workforce. Older workers are also more likely to remain in the labor force when early retirement options are limited. Creating affordable childcare and eldercare options can help women stay in work. The Czech Republic, Estonia, and Latvia already have achieved high labor force participation among older adults.Healthy aging: A greater focus in countries’ health systems on tackling non-communicable diseases through disease prevention, detection, and treatment will be important to ensuring healthy aging. Individuals, especially men, struggle with making lifestyle changes to reduce risky behaviors such as smoking and alcohol use. Slovenia performs well in terms of raising longevity to EU-15 levels.Productive Aging: Enhancing the productivity of the aging labor force will be important to sustaining growth. While flexibility is a concern as older workers are less likely to move across firms, sectors, and geographic space, firm-level changes in production techniques have been shown to yield dividends for enhancing the productivity of older workers. Investing in skills for longer and more productive working lives is also critical. The smaller cohort of younger people entering the school system creates opportunities to improve the quality of education. Young people in Estonia and Poland have performed strongly in the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment.Welfare and pensions: Middle-aged and older people in Central Europe and the Baltics have not managed to accumulate significant wealth and rely on labor and pension income. Future projections are for pension coverage and adequacy to fall substantially in some countries, leading to increased vulnerability to poverty for older people. Policies to expand minimum income schemes are likely to form part of the solution for older age groups, along with measures to encourage increased household savings for younger people.Managing age-related spending pressures: Ensuring adequate services in aging societies will add to countries’ fiscal pressures. As a result, prioritizing, increasing efficiency and making trade-offs in public spending will be necessary to control aging-related spending, such as in pensions and long-term care.A return to balanced demographics: Ultimately, the countries of Central Europe and the Baltics will need to achieve sustainable levels of fertility and net migration to return to a more balanced age structure. Some Western European countries have been able to restore fertility rates, and the key to this success seems to be a reconciliation of family and career goals for women.Countries in Central Europe and the Baltics have made significant progress in many of the areas identified above. But more can be done. This Report is part of the ongoing analytical work program at the World Bank on the topic of population aging. Within the EU, the World Bank is partnering with governments on aging-related policy research projects in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Latvia. Outside the EU, the World Bank is engaged actively in work on this issue in Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, and East Asia.For an online copy of the report, please visit:www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/Publications/ECA/aging europe.pdf Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbankBe updated via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/worldbankFor our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/worldbank Show Less -