Both the Government and business community in Poland recognize that continued investment in businesses and entrepreneurship is crucial to maintaining growth in the economy. With a view to raising awareness about business opportunities with the World Bank Group, the Polish Confederation of Private Employers (LEWIATAN) hosted a seminar in Warsaw on 6 December, 2012.
The seminar, Business Opportunities for Polish Companies with the World Bank Group, was attended by more than 20 Polish companies representing a wide range of sectors including health, ICT, transport, logistics, energy and environment. Opening the event, Beata Stelmach, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, underlined the Government's continued support to Polish firms, not only domestically but also in foreign markets.
World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic Countries, Xavier Devictor, advised Polish companies to be more proactive in availing of projects and instruments offered by the World Bank Group, particularly outside of Poland. Mr. Devictor stressed that World Bank Group financing represents a “sizable amount of resources” and that Polish firms have the potential to significantly “increase their performance in this market”.
Major sectors in which the World Bank Group finances contracts with firms around the world include: transportation; energy and mining; and water and sanitation.
Approximately 100,000 contracts are financed by the World Bank (IBRD and IDA) every year, but only 12 contracts on average are awarded to Polish companies. The numbers are also low with regard to the IFC, which has a portfolio of only 3 projects (totaling $22 million) out of about 600 projects (totaling $60 billion) worldwide. Of the 700 firms that work with the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), only 1 is Polish.
At the seminar, representatives from the World Bank Group highlighted how Polish firms could work with the various Agencies within the Group. From the IBRD, Gilles Garcia, Manager, Enterprise Outreach Services (Paris office), and Jose Martinez, Senior Procurement Specialist (Belgrade office) focused on World Bank financed projects and business opportunities for firms.
IFC’s Ana Maria Mihaescu, IFC Chief Resident Representative (Bucharest office) and MIGA’s Olivier Lambert, Manager, Regional Office (Paris office) both spoke about the various instruments and products their respective Agencies offer to the business community, as well as the Bank's procurement rules and regulations under the Bank's financed investment projects.
From the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, Michal Gorzelak spoke about his role as Private Sector Liaison Officer to the World Bank Group