The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) hosted the Polish Ambassador, Her Excellency Anna Raduchowska-Brochwicz, and Head of Trade and Investment Promotion, Andrzej Krezel, on a tour of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) Port of Ngqura.
The purpose of meetings between the Polish delegation and senior executives from CDC was to strengthen economic ties between the Eastern Cape and Poland, and to unlock future foreign direct investment inflows to Nelson Mandela Bay from investors in this central eastern European country.
Her Excellency Raduchowska-Brochwicz and Krezel’s half-day trip to Coega focused on building the relationship through the identification of cooperation areas, mainly in agriculture, agro-processing, automotive industry, maritime transportation, manufacturing and green energy technologies, which reflect the main economic-industrial sectors of the Coega IDZ.
“Since Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2003, trade with South Africa has significantly increased. South Africa is the country’s biggest African trading partner, with the value of trade coming in at approximately R13 billion last year, 2014. In terms of exports, Algeria and South Africa are top African export destinations for the country, while the largest imports originate from South Africa, Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire,” said CDC’s Marketing and Communications Head, Dr Ayanda Vilakazi.
“The current trade volumes between Poland and South Africa do not reflect real potential as many untapped trade and investment opportunities exist. Our meeting with the embassy was aimed to exploring those opportunities. We believe the Coega IDZ should be the gateway into Africa and a global trading partner for Polish investors with access to markets in the West and East,” he said.
Vilakazi said that Poland is one of the largest sources of outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) among the newer European Union members. Polish OFDI stock rose from approximately R13,5 billion in 2000 to R777 billion in 2012, reflecting an intense appetite for investment outside the country. He noted that the bulk of Polish OFDI was spread amongst European countries, but predicted further growth in its investment in Africa.
“The trend toward growth is set to continue with a large number of Polish companies discovering the benefits of investing abroad, and especially in Africa. Importantly, we believe our latest suite of investment incentives will make the Eastern Cape a prime investment hotspot for Polish firms.”
Vilakazi said Poland’s laissez-faire policy, a relatively stable and strong economy, good support mechanisms from government and the country’s accession to the EU are factors helping Polish firms to expand abroad. He also noted that a solid foundation is in place for economic and social relations between Poland and the Eastern Cape to grow.
South Africa and Poland signed an economic cooperation agreement aimed at increasing two-way trade and investment. Memorandums of understanding were also signed between Trade and Investment South Africa and the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, and between the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa and the Industrial Development Agency of Poland.
“We want to bring these agreements to life,” said Her Excellency Raduchowska-Brochwicz, “and the visit to the Eastern Cape has empowered us with the knowledge to connect the Polish investors to this region. We will prepare a strategy of engagement to be discussed with CDC, and the next step will be a trade and investment mission from Poland to the EC Coega IDZ, in particular.”
The ambassador said that Nelson Mandela Bay’s maritime and oceans economy sector is one that presents an opportunity for greater co-operation between Poland and the Eastern Cape.
“A myriad of opportunities exist for joint investment, technical co-operation and partnerships especially in marine manufacturing, ship repairs and the oceans economy.”
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