Poland hopes its role as a central and eastern European technology hub will help create cross-investment opportunities in the financial, healthcare and food sectors for Gulf investors, according to a senior official.
Pawel Jablonski, Poland’s undersecretary of state for economic and development co-operation, for Africa and the Middle East, was in Abu Dhabi this month to explore ways to expand the country’s trade and commerce beyond its traditional main partners, such as Germany.
There are many areas which Poland and the UAE have common ground, including infrastructure development, which could provide the chance for "synergies" to help "shape the economy of tomorrow", Mr Jablonski told the Business Extra podcast.
"We also see that the market in Europe has its limits, and we want to expand and to grow globally. That is why we are bringing these economic relations to a next level also with countries that are geographically further away from Poland."
With about 250 start-ups in the fintech sector, Poland, the EU's sixth largest economy, is known as a regional hub. This this represents another potential point of collaboration too, he said.
"One sector that comes to mind ... is financial technology, thanks to the fact that we actually started our transition to a free market economy only 30 years ago, and because of that, we obviously were lagging behind in many sectors. We started later, but thanks to that, we managed to overtake those more developed countries," said Mr Jablonski.
Other innovative industries developing quickly in Poland include medtech, agrotech, food processing technologies and food storage.
Clean energy and renewables and water management and waste treatment solutions are also growing sectors.
"We are applying these solutions at home, we are applying them with our neighbours and we also want to export them to exchange our experiences with countries such as the UAE,” Mr Jablonski said.
Poland is also pioneering Smart City technologies "which is, I believe a necessity for the region”, he said.
The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that “we need to be more resilient ... It doesn't mean resorting to ... producing everything at home, we need to co-operate, but these [supply] chains need to be perhaps shorter, perhaps stronger, and we need to have alternatives."
“That is why we want to not only to focus on this traditional direction of co-operation, but also for new ones. Hence, our efforts to strengthen our presence in the Gulf region,” he said.
The 12 countries located between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic seas, forming The Three Seas grouping – which includes Poland – are working together to build up transport, energy and digital infrastructure.
"In central Europe, we are expanding and we are we are strengthening this regional co-operation, especially in the last couple of years … And we work very close together," said Mr Jablonski.
“So when we speak about potential co-operation, I'm representing the Polish government. But also in fact, I'm representing the alliance of these 12 countries, a big, big economy of over 110 million people, growing in size, with unparalleled developments.”
In this episode:
Poland's expansion in UAE (0m 36s) From EU to UAE (2m 31s) Primary sectors for Poland (4m 27s) Competing interests (8m 26s) The diverse market in Europe (12m 27s)