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PRESS RELEASE

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Bank Managing Director visits Poland to discuss its emerging role in international development cooperation

January 14, 2011



WARSAW, January 14, 2011 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Bank Managing Director today completed her two-day visit to Poland organized upon the invitation of Prof. Marek Belka, President of the National Bank of Poland. The main purpose of her visit was to discuss how Poland can share its experience and success with others and increase its role in international development cooperation. Ms. Okonjo-Iweala also focused on Poland’s upcoming EU Presidency, which, according to the World Bank, offers an excellent opportunity to promote international cooperation and integration.

“My main message to you today is to think differently about development assistance”, Okonjo-Iweala said during the seminar “Perspectives for development assistance in Poland” organized by the National Bank of Poland. “Development assistance is not about charity, but an investment that benefits all, including Poland”.

As the pioneer reformer in ex-communist Europe, Poland’s leaders showed great courage in adopting a bold macroeconomic stabilization plan and ambitious structural reforms.  During the first decade of transition, rapid liberalization of large parts of the economy, building institutions essential for a market economy, and sound macro-economic management created the groundwork for Poland’s vibrant economy today. After the painful early years of transition, economic growth took off, trade flourished, and stable institutions took root. Today, Poland is a high-income country that, due to the Government’s bold decisions, managed to weather the recent economic crisis in a highly impressive manner. The World Bank believes that Poland is ready to fully assume its leadership role among the New Member States to gradually increase their international role in development cooperation.

During her visit to Poland, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala met with Radoslaw Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Waldemar Pawlak, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy; and Jan Vincent-Rostowski, Minister of Finance. The discussions focused on Poland’s emerging role as a donor, but also on future cooperation between Poland and theWorld Bank.

“Increasing development aid would benefit Polish businesses and trade,” said Okonjo-Iweala. “In this world of ever-increasing globalization, businesses are looking for new markets in which to invest, and Africa and other emerging markets are ripe for consideration. Private investors are interested in developing countries because they can make money at what they perceive to be acceptable levels of risk.”

Okonjo-Iweala added that “Another vital area of focus is trade. Developing countries have accounted for about half of the increase in world import demand since 2000. Advanced economies need extra sources of demand to support recovery and create jobs. But they also need inputs for their products such as minerals, agriculture, and fossil fuels.  And developing countries need access to overseas markets in order to grow faster through expansion and rising productivity. This can be a win-win situation.”

The World Bank stands ready to assist Poland during its EU Presidency and to help develop Poland’s role in development cooperation. The World Bank is also interested in further cooperation with Poland in the areas of, for example, energy efficiency, doing business and innovation, and subnational cooperation.

Press briefing BACKGROUNDER

Perspectives for development assistance in Poland

Warsaw, January 13th 2011

The main reason for the visit of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank, is to discuss how Poland can share its experience and success with others. Poland’s successful transition experience and its relatively strong performance during the global and regional crisis offer many valuable lessons for other countries. The World Bank believes it is an excellent time for Poland to boost its solidarity with countries that continue to struggle against political and economic hardship.

As the pioneer reformer in ex-communist Europe, Poland’s leaders showed great courage in adopting a bold macroeconomic stabilization plan and ambitious structural reforms. During the first decade of transition, rapid liberalization of large parts of the economy, building institutions essential for a market economy, and sound macro-economic management created the groundwork for Poland’s vibrant economy today. After the painful early years of transition, economic growth took off, trade flourished, and stable institutions took root. Today, Poland is a high income country. Poland was the only country in the EU to avoid recession in 2009.  Poland grew by 1.7 percent, while the EU declined by 4.2 percent.

The message of the Managing Director is about thinking differently about aid. This is not just about charity. Investing in development will benefit all, including Poland.

Aid can be good for Polish businesses and trade. In this world of ever increasing globalization, businesses are looking for new markets in which to invest and Africa and other emerging markets are ripe for consideration.  Private investors are interested in developing countries because they can make money at what they perceive to be acceptable levels of risk. Increasingly companies investing in low income countries are reaping disproportionately higher returns, compared to those investing in traditional markets.

Another vital area of focus is trade. Developing countries have accounted for about half of the increase in world import demand since 2000. Many low income countries are more open today than they were in 2000. Advanced economies need extra sources of demand to support recovery and create jobs. But they also need inputs for their products such as minerals, agriculture and fossil fuels. And developing countries need access to overseas markets in order to grow faster through expansion and rising productivity. This can be a win-win situation.

The World Bank believes Poland is ready to increase its leadership role. For example, despite the crisis and fiscally challenging environment, Poland helped other European countries that were more severely impacted including Iceland and Latvia. This impressive financial strength and international solidarity shows that Poland is ready to play an increasing role as a donor.

The World Bank also believes Poland’s upcoming EU Presidency offers an excellent opportunity to further promote international cooperation, while taking a leadership role among the New Member States to gradually increase their international donor role.

Over these past twenty years (since 1990), the World Bank has provided US$10.3 billion of IBRD for 73 projects to support Poland in various sectors of the economy.



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