Silesia: one of the fastest growing regions in Central and Eastern Europe
Silesia enjoys a strategic location in this part of Europe, at the crossroads of its main transport routes. Within a 90 km radius of Katowice, there are three international airports. The network of local communication routes, including roads and railroads, is also well developed, as would be expected due to the specificity of the region: the Silesian province is the most densely populated in the country with the highest degree of urbanisation (369 people per square kilometre, with the national average being 123 per km2). More than 4.5 million (more than 12% of the country’s population) people live within the region, which itself makes up less than 4% of the area of the country as a whole. 8.5 million people live within 100 km from Katowice (1). For the 2018–2019 academic year, 107,982 students were enrolled at Silesian universities and out of these 21,383 were studying subjects related to business, administration and law (2).
The attractiveness of Silesia, among other reasons, stems from its:
- The unemployment rate was 3.6%, compared to the national average of 5.2% (GUS, 2019).
- Location: strategically situated at the intersection of the main transport routes for this part of Europe, including railways (the E30, connecting Germany, Poland and Ukraine, as well as the E65 and CE65 connecting the Baltic countries with those of the Adriatic and the Balkans) and such road routes as the A1 and A4 motorways and the S1 and S86 expressways, as well as international highways such as the E40 (connecting France with Kazakhstan) and the E75 (between Norway and Greece).
- Access to airports: within 90 km of Katowice, there are three large international airports – Katowice-Pyrzowice, Kraków-Balice and Ostrava.
- Road infrastructure, which is the best-developed in Poland, along with other forms of transport infrastructure (e.g. 757.1 km of cycle lanes per 10,000 km2, as opposed to the national average of 444.7 km – GUS, 2018).
- Access to a qualified workforce.
- Higher education: at the end of 2018, almost 108,000 people were studying in the region (GUS, 2018).
- Large retail market and the growth in the purchasing power of its inhabitants.
- Major business events, a large number of which take place in the region, including the European Economic Congress.