UAE's Polish community set to grow as new business council opens

Nation's Polish population has almost doubled since 2020

The Polish Business Council is inaugurated at the Dubai Chambers to unlock opportunities in the UAE and beyond. From left, Jakub Slawek, Poland’s ambassador to the UAE,  Jacek Tomczak, Polish Deputy Minister for Development and Technology, Maha Al Gargawi, vice president of Dubai Chambers, and Maciej Bialko, chairman of the Polish Business Council in Dubai. Ruel Pableo for The National
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The small Polish community in the UAE is poised to grow with more businesses and families expected to settle in the country, senior officials have said.

The Polish Business Council in Dubai was inaugurated at Dubai Chambers on Tuesday as part of wider efforts to strengthen ties between the two nations.

“This is of massive importance to us because it will strengthen Polish visibility in Dubai, in the UAE markets," Jakub Slawek, the Polish ambassador, told The National.

There will be more Polish people coming here, settling their business and their life
Jakub Slawek, Poland's ambassador to the UAE

“This is a cementing of ties. My biggest wish is that this will be a driving force to getting more Polish businesses into the UAE.”

The community of about 5,000 Polish citizens after the Covid-19 pandemic has almost doubled to 9,000 now living and working in the Emirates.

Gateway to Africa

Polish software companies have the biggest presence in the UAE but the aim is to draw in other firms from the food sector to renewable energy industries.

“The trend is one of growth as the UAE is an attractive and competitive place to be in business-wise,” Mr Slawek said.

“There will be more Polish people coming here, settling their business and their life.”

The council understands the UAE’s strategic location as a gateway to Africa and the connections that open up with the more than 200 nationalities that call the Emirates their home.

“The UAE gives us this unique platform of being present here and the possibility of being present in the GCC, India and beyond,” Mr Slawek told a group of Polish businessmen later on Tuesday.

“There is not another country in the world that can offer you that.

“It’s very hard to do it from Poland or any other country in Europe but being here, we know Emirati business partners are very strong in the region, in Africa and India, and this is something for your businesses to explore.”

Poland has deepened co-operation with the UAE over the past few years.

Polish President Andrzej Duda visited the Emirates twice last year – in March and later during Cop28 to discuss further developing economic and investment co-operation.

The UAE has comprehensive economic partnership agreements with 11 countries including India, Indonesia and Turkey. These boost trade by removing barriers and simplifying customs procedures.

The Dubai Chamber, too, has about 40 business councils with countries including the US, Britain and France.

Polish-Emirati ties

Jacek Tomczak, Poland’s Deputy Minister for Development and Technology, described the UAE as the most innovative of all Arab countries and said the council would be an important platform for attracting investment on both sides.

“I deeply believe such initiatives would provide additional impetus for further development of Polish-Emirati ties," he said.

“We hope the activities of the Polish Business Council in Dubai will serve as an inspiration for initiating further joint projects for the benefit of both Emirati and Polish businesses.”

Maciej Bialko, chairman of the board of the Polish Business Council in Dubai, said a physical presence in Dubai was crucial to expand the reach of businesses.

He said patience and staying for the long haul was key.

“Polish entrepreneurs will need more understanding of doing business in a different culture,” he said.

“The UAE is a face-to face-country. This is not about just finding the right partner. They need to understand, they must plan a strategy looking ahead a minimum of three years.

“Companies will need to be present in the UAE, be patient, take small steps and establish relationships here.

“The right approach will give success.”

Updated: February 28, 2024, 6:46 AM