The Polish-African Economic Forum brought together over 400 participants from all over the world
On 28 March 2022, the Polish-African Economic Forum, the second international business forum organized by Poland during the Expo 2020 Dubai, was held. The Forum attracted entrepreneurs and representatives of public institutions from 40 countries.
- The discussion panels were attended by experts, representatives of state institutions, and entrepreneurs. The discussions focused on the cooperation and development perspectives for the food industry, transport and infrastructure, green technologies, and medical services. An important part of the event was the panel on the types of financial and professional support for entrepreneurs.
- The Forum was attended by representatives of 27 African states, including Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.
- Thanks to the efforts of the organizers, Expo 2020 Dubai was attended by a record number of African countries.
- Africa is currently one of the most promising and fastest growing markets in the world. The continent is currently inhabited by over 1.2 billion people, while the UN expects the number to increase to 2.5 billion by 2050.
- The increasing significance of the economic cooperation between Poland and Africa is supported by figures. The estimated volume of trade between Poland and African countries amounted to USD 8 billion in 2021. It grew by nearly 30%, compared with 2020.
- The Polish-African Economic Forum was organized by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency in cooperation with its Partners: PKN ORLEN and Polish Development Bank BGK.
The objective of the Polish-African Economic Forum, which was held on the last days of Expo 2020 Dubai, was to establish and strengthen contacts with trading partners in Africa and the Middle East. During the discussion panels, experts, scientists, entrepreneurs, and representatives of state institutions and authorities addressed the challenges faced by different sectors of the economy. The first debate concerned food safety and ways to ensure it based on cooperation. The theme of the next panel was transport and infrastructure in the African countries. It was pointed out that Polish companies are highly experienced and possess adequate technologies that may significantly speed up the already ongoing urbanization process in the African countries.
The panel on renewable energy sources and hydrogen management was also an important item on the programme of the Forum. With South Africa as an example, participants discussed what the potential is for achieving the sustainable development goals and considering climate-related matters at the same time. The discussion concerned green hydrogen, solar power, and wind power along with opportunities for cooperation in these areas. The fourth panel was devoted to new technologies changing the medical equipment and healthcare industry. Both representatives of scientific institutes and entrepreneurs representing specific companies contributed to the discussion. The highlight of the programme was the discussion on ways to deliver effective financial support for those companies that decide to expand their business by entering new markets. It was attended by representatives of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH), the Polish Export Credit Agency (KUKE), BGK, and Bank Pekao SA.
The GoAfrica Programme as a means of comprehensive support for Polish entrepreneurs
It is highly important that state institutions support Polish companies in their business cooperation with foreign partners. This is reflected in the activities of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency which organized the Polish-African Economic Forum during Expo 2020 Dubai. PAIH has been consistently supporting representatives of the private sector in their foreign expansion into the African countries for years now. The GoAfrica Programme is one of such initiatives. It constitutes a framework for organizing workshops and training sessions, trade missions or business trips to sectoral fairs. The Programme also provides professional support at each stage of the export activities, while the experts, with their knowledge of the nature of individual markets, help to develop a secure operational strategy. PAIH currently operates through five Foreign Trade Offices in Africa: Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. They assist Polish entrepreneurs on site. They check potential counterparties and facilitate the understanding of the African markets and their business environment.
Cloud Services is an example of a Polish company that has successfully settled in Africa with the support of PAIH. In 2021, it entered into cooperation with the Bank of Africa Group, which resulted in the creation of an innovative sale platform along with credit services. Cloud Services is an enterprise specializing in IT sales-boosting and user-friendly solutions for the financial and insurance sector. The potential of this cooperation is confirmed by the fact that the Bank of Africa Group, with which Cloud Services cooperates, is based in as many as 18 countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Togo, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Madagascar.