PM voices support for innovations, IT sector

IT sector exports - to exceed EUR 1bn for the first time this year - are an increasingly important component of Serbia's overall economic growth.


And the growth will be 4.4 percent in 2019, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic pointed out in an article written for Monday's edition of the daily Blic, the Serbian government said on its website.

Brnabic referred to a conference with young people who live and study abroad held at the end of 2018. About 220 people from America, across Europe to Australia, responded to my call to talk about how to create an environment for people to stay here, return to our country and how to better cooperate in the interests of our country.

I was pleased with their enthusiasm to help: they are either thinking about the return or registration of their companies in Serbia, partnership with Serbian companies, or how to utilize in some other way the experience and knowledge they gained beyond the borders of our country, she said.

Brnabic pointed out to the necessity of investing in education, science, research and development, creative industries and digitization as a synonym for removing barriers, speeding up administration and making a stronger step forward.

In order to train our young people for the future, we introduced programming as a compulsory subject from the fifth grade of elementary school, she said noting that we invest about €100 million in faculties, scientific institutes, science-technology parks and start-up centers throughout Serbia.

"After many years, this year we systematically supported 1,000 young PhD students to join in scientific research projects at our institutes and faculties, and in the new year, the Fund for Science begins operating," Brnabic wrote, adding:

"Serbia is a country of creative and innovative people who have already shown that they have the talent, knowledge and potential to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution. IT sector exports this year will exceed the billion euros for the first time and make it an increasingly important component of our overall economic growth this year to be 4.4 percent.

With the support of the National Bank of Serbia, instant payments and support for innovative payment services have been introduced, and laws for the development of investment funds, e-commerce, business models based on blockchain technology are under preparation.

The Innovation Fund's budget has been duplicated, in order to get as many domestic companies as possible to develop their innovative solutions.

We are creating an ecosystem that will support the development of creative and innovation activities and the IT sector. Reform of the education system, from which the generations ready to work in the modern world will emerge, was the most important requirement of our IT industry and we are doing the most work on it.

When we introduced electronic building permits, for the first time we made a significant jump on the Doing Business List of the World Bank, which was the beginning of the re-positioning of Serbia in the world.

One of the best examples of e-government, the "Welcome, Baby" project has enabled easier registration of newborns in just fifteen minutes."

"However, we all need to be aware that it takes time for the changes, especially the systemic ones, to come to life. However, we must have faith that the changes are possible. That is why I want to mention the examples of Israel, Ireland and Korea that were developing countries just a few decades ago, and today they stand as examples of how economic power can be created from new technologies, innovation and creativity," the prime minister noted.

"I believe that the next year will be full of challenges, but that our reforms will be more successful if we deal with them all together," Brnabic concluded.


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