By Folasade Folarin
President of Poland, Mr Andrzej Duda, has said that the country is seeking ways to increase cooperation and boost business ties with Africa.
According to a statement from the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) website in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, on Thursday, Duda expressed the intention when he visited the commission’s Acting Executive Secretary, Mr Abdalla Hamdok.
Duda said that Poland was interested in investing in Africa and that he would be happier if African businesses were also keen on investing in his country.
“We as a country hope to increase the cooperation between Africa and Poland and we want to invest in Africa, not exploit it.
“We want to see Poland being respected the world over for its expertise and what it stands for and we are open to friendly cooperation as partners, offering our extensive experience, among other things in the economic transformation of Africa.’’
He said that the visit, being his first, had given him the opportunity to speak with key ECA officials, Ethiopian leaders and African Union Commission (AUC) officials to see how they could work together to help develop Africa.
He said working together would see them jointly paving the way for success economically, socially and politically.
Duda emphasised the need for solidarity, adding that Poland would not be what it was today had it not been supported by other countries.
He also said that one of the reasons for his visit to Africa was to seek Africa’s backing for Poland’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2018-2019.
Responding, Hamdok explained the role of the ECA, adding that the organization had done well over the years and would continue to promote the economic and social development of its African Member States.
He also said that it would foster intra-regional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.
“Over the years, through the joint efforts of the ECA and its partners, we have seen massive infrastructural development taking place in Africa, growing regional integration and trade as well.
“Africans have got their priorities right and we as the ECA will continue to play our role in supporting our member states, especially the formulation of enabling policies that will lead to the structural transformation of economies on the continent.’’
He also said that democracy had taken root in Africa with elections becoming the norm everywhere.