RIGA - Latvia seriously lags behind its Baltic neighbors and the rest of Europe as regards digitalization and e-skills, Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens (Unity) said on the public Latvian Radio.
Even though Latvia has become more competitive in recent years, evolving from a small economy into a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), neighboring Lithuania and Estonia have moved ahead of Latvia, especially as regards digitalization and e-services, the minister said.
Nevertheless, in 2017 Latvia achieved a 4.5 percent economic growth without increasing the number of employed persons which means that productivity had improved, Aseradens said. "Innovations is Latvia's biggest economic problem. Even though Latvia is making progress in this respect, other countries show much faster development," he said.
Therefore it is important to continue investments in education and retraining of employees to meet the labor market needs. "The future economy will be based solely on knowledge," the economics minister said.
Efforts should continue to encourage re-migration. It is planned that the average monthly wage in Latvia will reach EUR 1,000 by 2020 which is the psychological threshold that might induce Latvians living abroad to return to their native country, Aseradens said.
The representatives of the Latvian government and the Latvian Confederation of Employers will be discussing challenges to Latvia's international competitiveness during a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.