The World Bank is beginning work on a new project, aimed at supporting the poorer regions of Poland by better utilizing European Union funds made available to the country through the European Union Financial Framework 2014-2020. Representatives from Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie, the two regions selected for this work, will cooperate with experts from the World Bank, the Ministry of Development, and the European Commission during this project.
The project – part of a European Commission initiative – will also include two regions in Romania. Poland and Romania are the first to implement this pilot project, whose objective is to increase the absorption of European Union funds and support socioeconomic development at the local level.
“We are happy that we will be able to use our global experience, as well as our knowledge of the conditions in Poland, to support the Polish authorities in developing the country’s lagging regions,” says Arup Banerji, World Bank Regional Director for European Union Countries.
“Poland has made huge progress in recent years. But further improvements in making local areas more competitive, innovative, and entrepreneurial are needed to sustain this progress. We believe that, with appropriate public support and the application of the right policies, it will be possible to unleash the huge potential of those regions and their local communities,” adds Banerji.
Within the framework of this project, World Bank experts will focus on activities fostering the development of cooperation between science and business, supporting vocational education and training, developing local entrepreneurship, and facilitating the starting of a business.
Recommendations based on this work will be made available in the middle of next year. Experts from the World Bank will then support the local governments in Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie in jointly implementing those recommendations and guidelines. Working groups, comprising representatives of the local administration, businesses, the NGO sector, and World Bank experts, are already in place for each area covered by this project.
“In the Świętokrzyskie region, a key challenge is to harmonize the relationship between vocational education and the needs of the labor market. We want to take advantage of good practices showcased in other European countries in this area. The important tasks of supporting companies operating in the energy sector – which is of high importance for us – and facilitating the creation of businesses, also remain,” says Adam Jarubas, the Governor of the Świętokrzyskie region.
“We believe that this joint project with the European Commission and the World Bank, implemented with support from the Ministry of Economic Development, will accelerate the development of our region. Most of all, we would like to increase the competitiveness of our companies. We would also like to make better – and commercial – use of the R&D infrastructure of our two academies: the University of Rzeszów and the Rzeszów University of Technology,” notes Władysław Ortyl, the Governor of the Podkarpackie region.
This cooperation with the Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie regions is the latest example of support by the World Bank in developing regions and cities across Poland. Previous initiatives have included the creation and implementation of development strategies in Lubelskie and Śląskie and innovation strategies in Świętokrzyskie, the planning of ‘green’ transport solutions in Białystok and Lublin, and the enhancement of the capacity for long-term planning and management of local finances in various locations around Poland.