WARSAW, March 31, 2021 – The Polish economy is expected to grow by 3.3 percent in 2021, as a recovery in trade in the euro area, combined with improved confidence and a rebound in private consumption and investment partly offset the negative impacts of the resurgence of the pandemic late in 2020 and a recent flareup in new cases, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Economic Update for Europe and Central Asia, released today.
The projected rebound in 2021 is weaker than previously anticipated (3.5 percent), reflecting uncertainty surrounding the emergence of new strains of COVID-19 and the uneven pace of vaccination in Europe.
The World Bank expects that following the moderate recovery this year, growth will accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2022. The 2022 projection is faster than previously envisioned (3.4 percent), owing in part to a robust rebound in domestic demand, particularly in investment.
“Although Poland’s GDP declined in 2020 for the first time in 30 years, the well-diversified Polish economy is one of Europe’s least affected amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcus Heinz, World Bank Resident Representative for Poland and the Baltic States. “A key challenge over the short term is to continue supporting the sectors most affected by the pandemic, while ensuring public debt sustainability and transparency. Poland also needs to continue strengthening its institutions to prepare for a new wave of absorption of EU funds, a big part of which will go into low-carbon and greener projects”.
The emerging and developing economies in Europe and Central Asia are projected to grow by 3.6 percent this year and by 3.8 percent in 2022, as the effects of the pandemic gradually wane and trade and investment gather momentum.
The pandemic is expected to erase at least five years of per capita income gains in several of the region’s economies and raise the poverty headcount, largely due to job losses. Overall, despite the rebound in growth, the recovery in per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of the region is subdued and below pre-pandemic trends.
Fundamental to achieving long-term inclusive and sustainable growth is good governance. The pandemic has underscored the need for good governance given the important role governments around the world have played in mitigating the health, economic and social impacts of the virus. The range of measures has included restrictions on movement to control the spread of the infection, vaccination programs, relief packages to protect individuals and businesses from the economic fallout of the pandemic, and devising ways for virtual learning for millions of school children.
In Europe and Central Asia, good governance is all the more important given the large role governments have played historically in shaping the economy. Government expenditures in the region represent nearly 40 percent of the economy and governments employ more than a quarter of the region’s most educated and productive workers, with women constituting 57 percent of public sector employees. And the role of government in the region’s countries is likely to further increase in the coming years, driven largely by the need for expansion of health and long-term care for aging populations and public support for government interventions to tackle inequality and, in the face of COVID, improve health and education systems.
In a special analysis on ‘Data, Digitalization, and Governance in Europe and Central Asia’, the report examines the potential role of data and digitalization in improving governance in the region.
“To effectively address the challenges brought on by COVID-19, improving governance has assumed an even greater importance in the region,” said Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, World Bank Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia. “Digital technology and the data revolution offer the potential to increase efficiency, transparency, responsiveness, and citizen trust, all of which directly improve the quality of government.”
Data lay the ground for improved decision making, optimized government functioning, and more effective resource allocation, while digitalization strengthens these processes and enables greater efficiency and transparency.