Klaus Iohannis spoke at the Innovation Labs event in Bucharest, an event that supports innovative projects of young people in the digital sector. He congratulated participants and organisers for encouraging progress and entrepreneurship for the young.
“We are all witness to the transformations taking place in modern economies and societies, generated by digital technologies – from agriculture to industry and trade, and even national security. We need to commit to these changes and take advantage of the opportunities they bring!” said Iohannis.
The president talked about the evolution of Romania’s IT industry, saying that it has been growing at an average annual rate of over 15 percent. “Exports see yearly growth of over 20 percent, which shows the extraordinary competitiveness of this sector. Currently, the IT sector and the communications technologies sector make up for almost 6 percent of Romania’s GDP,” he added.
However, he also mentioned some areas where Romania is lagging behind. “The low digitalization of the economy and public administration is a reality that must determine the government to take urgent measures. We have a high connection speed, which is undoubtedly a good thing. On the other hand, Romanian society is not doing well when it comes to digital skills. The government is planning, and it ought to make concrete steps to fulfil this plan, that by 2020, 35 percent of Romanian citizens will use e-governing systems.”
“IT entrepreneurship is affected by the lack of qualified personnel. The education system is already lagging behind the accelerated pace of change, and it is unable to cover the growing demand for IT specialists. The yearly deficit for skilled workers is already in the thousands. The education system needs to rapidly integrate digital education, starting from primary schools, in order to improve this situation. Besides the lack of workforce, the IT industry also needs to manage the lack of predictability generated by the often uninspired measures taken by governmental decision-makers.”
Iohannis encouraged digital entrepreneurs: “Creative industries and start-ups based on modern technologies are central elements of a dynamic and globally competitive economy. It is essential for Romania to support entrepreneurs who develop top products in the digital industry. Otherwise, we can’t aspire to a Romanian “Silicon Valley”.