Poland’s Lagging Regions Can Catch Up, Says World Bank

May 31, 2017

Warsaw, May 31, 2017 Lagging regions in Poland, such as Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie, could develop more rapidly and catch up with the country’s more advanced regions in the areas of easier business registration, stronger business-university collaboration, and improved vocational education - according to research conducted as part of the first phase of the “Catching-Up Regions” project.

Initiated more than a year ago by the European Commission, the “Catching-Up Regions” project is being implemented by the World Bank, in cooperation with the European Commission, Poland’s Ministry of Economic Development, the regional authorities of Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie, civil society organizations, local enterprises, and academics.

“In many areas, Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie could serve as models for other regions to follow throughout Europe. Improving infrastructure, the development of the aviation industry in Podkarpackie, and the rapid growth of tourism in Świętokrzyskie are all evidence of great progress that has been made in recent years,” said Carlos Piñerúa, World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic States.

“Despite this, our experts have identified areas where further improvements are possible. Above all, there are huge opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to be the engines of growth in these regions, and for greater cooperation between business and education. Now is an opportune time to implement changes that can benefit all people living in these regions,” Piñerúa added.

The research - comprising several reports - outlines a number of ways in which the lagging regions could catch up. First, the regions should ensure that students in vocational and technical schools receive more practical work experience through in-firm learning as part of their curriculum. More time spent in well-managed and more competitive firms would increase the chances of students getting jobs after graduation.

Second, a newly-established Podkarpackie Center of Innovation would strengthen cooperation between academics and entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in new research and development projects, leading to the eventual development of more innovative products, services, and start-up firms.

Third, specialized advisory services, combined with financial incentives to support the growth of small and medium enterprises in Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie, could improve their competitiveness in regional markets and beyond.

Fourth, according to the World Bank’s “Doing Business in Poland 2015” report, Kielce and Rzeszów - the capitals of the Świętokrzyskie and Podkarpackie regions, respectively - are ranked as third and second-to-last in the ease of business registration. Encouraging online registration and introducing a performance-based bonus among the administrative staff could help new entrepreneurs open their businesses faster and cheaper.

Going forward, the World Bank will continue to support the Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie regions, specifically with regard to the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the reports published today. World Bank experts will also start working with other regions in Poland, improving their development potential.


About The World Bank

The World Bank is an international financial institution with the mission to fight poverty and support inclusive growth. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Operating in over one hundred countries, the World Bank Group institutions provide financing, policy advice and other support services to help countries solve their most burning development policy issues.

Poland has been a member of the World Bank since 1986. The Warsaw Office was established in 1990. Since then, the World Bank has been instrumental in supporting Poland’s development. In total, the World Bank has extended loans worth $16 billion to Poland. The World Bank has also conducted a number of analytical projects concerning the public finance sector, doing business, labor market reform, infrastructure, health and many other areas. Among the projects that are now being carried out in Poland by the World Bank are flood protection projects on the Odra and Vistula rivers, supporting less developed regions and working on models of integrated health care.

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