10 Years of AFI
2006/03/01, On 26 January, this year, about two hundred investors, Partners and members of the AFI, CzechInvest managers and other guests visited seven countries at once. Although they are usually the ones that more or less risk, mainly the investors, during the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the existence of the Association for Foreign Investments – AFI – they all tested what such investment is like.
AFI is already for more than ten years helping in the cultivation of the Czech investment climate and provides support to CzechInvest in its endeavours to acquire direct foreign investments. A no less important element of the AFI activities is provision of related services to the foreign investors in the Czech Republic - to this purpose they use the services of member companies, which get not only the opportunity to realise own potential, but also opens the door for them to open dialogue with the other AFI members, state institutions and others.
"The object of this agreement is creation of an association, which shall via effective co-operation help its members to develop the influx of foreign investments into the Czech Republic and support the Czech business climate," states the founder agreement of the AFI, which the leaders of the nine founder companies signed on 1 January 1996. These were B.I.R.T., s.r.o. (B.I.R.T. Group), CzechInvest, Cheming, a.s., ICT Prague, s.r.o., Polytechna Consulting, a.s., Seddons, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, Stepp, s.r.o. and Strojexport P.T.A., a.s.
On the occasion of the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the AFI, the historically first chairman of the AFI Tomáš Ctibor recalled the beginnings of the AFI activities when the Japanese investors visited overgrown maize fields that were presented to them as industrial zones. His successor, J. A. Havelka who was chairman in the period 1999 - 2005, on his part recalled that the beginnings were really not easy because support of foreign investments did not rank among the interesting activities in the Czech Republic at the time.
One phase of the existence of AFI has peaked, but the association is well prepared to face new challenges in future. The AFI shall under the leadership of Martin Slabý, the current AFI chairman, concentrate mainly on uncompromising emphasis on maintenance of the quality of the membership base, involvement of the AFI and its members in constructive public debates on administration that influences the economic climate of the Czech Republic and other targets.
Since 2001 the joint project of the AFI and CzechInvest - the Partnership Programme for Support of Direct Foreign Investments is operating in the Czech Republic. The Partners in this program are stable companies in the Czech market that are not indifferent to the standard of the local business climate and actively support the competitiveness and openness of the Czech economy. All the Partners deserve thanks for current co-operation.
Thanks for long-term support also accrues to all the current and former members of the AFI, co-operating institutions and all that were involved in any way in the activities of the AFI.
We hope that all the visitors to the already mentioned anniversary celebrations in Munich Palace in good spirits recalled the ten years of Partnership. For the rest of you, we have a short picture reportage.
Every visitor to the evening event on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the AFI had the opportunity to test what such an investment looks like. The allocated amount in AFI-Euros could be multiplied in disciplines such as creation of Japanese origami, binding of Dutch tulips or American roulette. Proof of the enterprise of the participants were also the final amounts, which many times exceeded initial capital.
The peak of the evening was the auction in which the visitors that showed the greatest tenacity in the competition disciplines during the course of the event and also had an essential dose of luck could auction off three prizes consisting of high quality wines.
Martin Slabý (with the auction hammer) is in the role of Chairman AFI from November 2005. Jana Víšková, Press Spokesperson CzechInvest, successfully assisted him in the auction of the quality wines. At the close of the evening, a Dutch auction was also held because many visitors exchanged the nominal value of AFI-Euros for a higher value.
The representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and KPMG are having a mini-soccer match championship in the German corner. In the same manner as applies to other disciplines, they have betted on their victory and if they win they get double the number of banknotes.
Přemysl Hanzelka and Marek Loula of ČSOB are discussing (not only) about the quality of the offered delicacies with the General Manager CzechInvest Tomáš Hruda (right). Japanese cuisine ranked among the most successful during the course of the celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of the AFI. Quite paradoxically, most of the attendees gave the most favourable evaluation to drafted Guinness, which was “like from an Irish pub”.
Libuše Bautzová (Economist) tested her economic knowledge in a roulette bet. On the right is J. A. Havelka, former chairman of the AFI. On the left is Alžběta Honsová, Head of the PR Department CzechInvest.