The Europe-Africa Business Summit was held in Warsaw on March 19-20th. The aim of the event was to provide Polish entrepreneurs with know-how needed to start doing business in Africa.
Speakers included a.o.: Janusz Pietkiewicz – Vice President of Empoyers of Poland, dr Jan Kulczyk – owner of international investment company Kulczyk Investments, Horst Kohler – former President of Germany and former director International Monetary Fund, Dariusz Kacprzyk – Chairman of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego and Muda Yusuf – Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Janusz Pietkiewicz emphasized that cooperation between Polish and African business is mutually beneficial and more and more companies are engaging in business activity in African countries. 250 Polish companies have entered African markets in recent months, which brought the total of Polish companies on the continent to ca. 3 000. Grupa Azoty invested in mining in Senegal, Kulczyk Investments – in Namibia, while Asseco created an IT system in Ethiopia. Africa has also proven to be good destination for Polish food producers who were forced to look for new markets after the Russian embargo. Trade contacts between Polish businessmen from this sector with Africa have markedly intensified – eg. the export of Polish food products to Morocco grew by 450 percent year to year, while trade exchange with countries such as Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa at least doubled. The case of food industry is the most spectacular example of success, but practically all branches of African economy possess a great development potential, which bodes well for future beneficial investments.
Dominika Kulczyk, Chairwoman of the Kulczyk Foundation, stressed that in contacts between Europe and Africa relations built on partnership are of key importance. – We need to be attentive to the expectations of Africans. They want to be, and can be, business partners. Geirge Ndjenga, dean of Strathmore Business School in Kenya, shares this view. – I often to talk to businessmen from different countries and Poles leave the impression of determination – he added. Viceminister of Economy Andrzej Dycha drew attention to the fact that Africa is now a region of rapid growth and stated that Polish companies should get involved in this process. – Our trade relations are currently modest, but the government tries to support Polish entrepreneurs willing to invest in Africa – he said.
The Summit included presentations on how to establish a business in Africa and how to finance cooperation with African partners. Specific business project were also presented, with invitations to participate extended to both entrepreneurs and government administration. Additionally, legal offices with experience on African markets provided free of charge legal advice on how to conduct businesses there.