Estonian president at IT conference: Economic growth must stem from innovation

  • 2023-05-25
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – In his speech at the international technology conference Latitude59 in Tallinn on Thursday, Estonian President Alar Karis said that as life has presented new challenges, it is time to harness know-how and blend with science.

"I believe that innovation is the next step in the development of the economy for Estonia," the head of state said. "While traditional companies with less advanced technology always have a role to play in the economy, science and innovation are the foundation for real success."

According to Karis, new growth must come from innovation and new solutions that have never been tried before.

"We need to place more value on research and development activities and cooperation between business and academia," he said. "Research creates a technological advantage that increases competitiveness and, in the long term, profits. More research and smarter people also benefit society in a broader context."

As an example, Karis cited innovation in the defense and security sector and thanked NATO for creating the DIANA innovation fund, which deals with new initiatives and innovation.

"We should build secure digital systems based on research and innovation and build bridges with innovators in the field of defense and security," he said.

According to the Estonian head of state, similar rules need to be applied to crypto assets around the world to close loopholes for crooks, terrorists and war criminals, who could otherwise exploit gaps in legislation or avoid the sanctions they are subject to.

Digital companies can also contribute to security by increasing the security of their systems and by setting high standards for their platforms, and they must be one step ahead of cyber criminals when devising new solutions, Karis added.