Prime Minister lauds Poland's new designation as developed nation. Harvard mentor program with top Polish CEOs announced at NYC event.
The optimism was palpable at the Harvard Club on October 4, as speakers and panelists gave presentations at the event “Poland: The Can-Do Nation,” presented by PZU, one of Poland's largest financial institutions, in cooperation with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The air of enthusiasm was not surprising, given that just over a week ago Poland was officially recognized as a developed market, less than 30 years after it became a free market economy.
The theme of the day’s presentations was “From Developing to Developed: Perspective for Polish business on a crucial turning point of its history.” Speakers and panelists detailed Poland's economic rise, and how far they could see its economy and innovative companies going, as the country aspires to become a leader in economic and business development.
Paweł Surowka, CEO of PZU, introduced the much anticipated keynote speaker, Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who talked about how the country had progressed from “the ashes of communism” through the difficult reforms needed to become part of the European Union and NATO. The country was now recognized as one of the world’s developed nations by the FTSE Russell index provider, he said, adding “We are proud that Poland is now a member of this club as a truly social, competitive economy.”
Morawiecki also spoke about how Poland was continuing to make the economy more balanced to address the needs of all its citizens. Between 1989 and 2004, GDP per capita in Poland grew by 135 percent, he said, “making it one of the world’s fastest growing economies, but social inclusiveness and innovation lagged behind. Only after a new development strategy was adopted, after 2015, we managed to tackle those issues. Poland in now building a model of democratic capitalism for the many, not the few.”
Surowka and Christian Ketels, chief economist at BCG, announced a mentoring program that would bring Harvard University students as well as other students of top US universities together with the CEOs of some top Polish companies, in order for them to learn from the country’s innovative business leaders.
A presentation by Enrique Rueda-Sabater, senior advisor at BCG, gave key points from a report titled “Striking a Balance Between Well-Being and Growth, The 2018 Sustainable Economic Development Assessment.”
Rueda-Sabater explained why countries should be making the overall welfare of their citizens the top priority, while also promoting sustainable and robust economic growth. He highlighted countries that did this most effectively, as measured by income levels, “Poland is one of best performers in the world, in terms of making the most of its economic wealth, its income and its growth, in terms of well-being,” he said.
A group of panelists then gathered on stage for the presentation “From Developing to Developed – Macroeconomic Perspective,” which dealt with the economic and business environment in the country. Panelists included Paweł Borys, president of the management board of the Polish Development Fund; Michał Sołowow, owner of Barlinek, Synthos, Cersanit, Homla; Michał Krupiński, CEO of Pekao; Roksana Ciurysek-Gedir, vice president of Pekao; and Jarosław Królewski, CEO of Synerise. The panel was moderated by Jade Barker of Reuters.
Topics they discussed included Poland's emergence as a hub for companies developing technology and artificial intelligence; the high priority that the nation places on education; the need for economies of scale, and larger companies in Poland that could compete on the world stage, and the impact of open markets in spurring Poland's economy and its entrepreneurship.