Polish GDP Doubled in 25 Years

GDP: Darker is Richer

GDP: Darker is Richer

From 1990 the annual production value of goods and services per capita in Poland has doubled. The last twenty-five years has also seen a huge influx of foreign investment without which the Polish economy would have beem less competitive. The transformation of the Polish economy is sometimes referred to as ‘shock therapy’ because of its pace and social costs. In the early 1990s, Poland had high unemployment and hyperinflation. While not all observers agree on the positive consequences of these changes, the figures (without taking into account the social difficulties of individuals or even entire groups) show what progress Poland has made. According to Poland’s Central Statistical Office (GUS), from 1989 to 2013 the country’s GDP rocketed 103%. The OECD reports that in 1990 the annual production value of goods and services in Poland was $312 billion. In 2013 it was $717 billion. GDP per capita has also increased significantly, in fact this indicator of affluence has more than doubled in the period. According to the World Bank, GDP per capita in 1990 was $8,100. dollars, in 1991 it was even less: $7,500. Initially the situation in Poland improved very slowly with GDP per capita at just $10,00 in 1997. EU accession brought faster growth. In 2012, GDP per capita was $18,300. The Polish economy also opened up to the inflow of foreign capital. UN Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) data shows that in 1990 foreign direct investment (FDI) in Poland amounted to $109 million (in previous years it was zero). Yet a year later, FDI had increased to $425 million. In subsequent years this increased and in the 1990s the cumulative value of FDI in Poland almost doubled every year; in 1995 it amounted to $7.8 billion, in 2000 it was $34 billion. According to UNCTAD, in 2012 FDI was $230 billion. The growth in interest in Poland can also be noted when the percentage of world investment undertaken in Poland is taken into account. In 1990 it was barely 0.005%, a year later it was 0.018%; in 2008 this figure stood at 1.011%. In comparison, 3.14% of global FDI was in Germany and 1.56% in Italy in the same period. Foreign companies have become an extremely important part of the Polish economic landscape. In 2010, 52 out of the 100 largest companies (with regards to sales) operating in Poland were foreign companies. “In many sectors there are simply no Polish investors who would like to and would be able to make investments. There are many reasons for this: they do not have the capital or technology and do not want to take risks,” said Professor Zbigniew Zimny, a UNCTAD specialist.

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