Skopje, 19.11.2021 – Digitalization as a key segment for accelerated economic development was the focus of the tenth Macedonia2025 Summit. The latest trends in digitalization and digital skills, the circular economy and current economic topics were discussed during the Summit panels. In addition, success stories of technologically advanced companies from the region of Southeast Europe were presented.
“Let’s hurry forward! The vision of Macedonia 2025 is for the country to become a leading economy in the region, by promoting sustainable economic growth that will improve opportunities for citizens, companies and foreign investors,” said the CEO of the organization Nikica Mojsoska Blazevski, with the view that in this way, living standards will be improved and the outflow of young people will be prevented.
During its existence, Macedonia2025 has awarded 720 scholarships for education and leadership, and has helped over 600 companies, in order to encourage development.
According to the current situation, the country lags behind European countries in the process of digitalization. Only 32% of Macedonian citizens possess at least a basic level of digital skills, which is far below the EU average of 56%.
“As inappropriate as it may seem to talk about digitalization at a time when the country is facing a serious energy crisis and price shocks, we must not allow current challenges to prevent us from planning this necessary step in development,” said the President of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski. According to him, in addition to reducing unemployment and economic growth, digitalization provides the transparency necessary to minimize perhaps the biggest disease of any country – corruption.
The government says digitalization will be the focus of capital investments projected in the budget, and the benefits are yet to be felt. According to the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Fatmir Bytyqi, the country will be a pioneer in introducing artificial intelligence assistants.
“Macedonia 2025 has very ambitious goals, many of which will be achieved” – assures the Chair of the Board of Directors, Michael Cklamovski. He says that in a clear and transparent way, funds are allocated for scholarships for young talents and undergraduate students. In 2021, a total of 200 scholarship holders will be funded.
Marcelo Claure – CEO of SoftBank Group International and Mike Zafirovski, one of the co-founders of the organization Macedonia 2025, raised the question of whether digitalization is an opportunity or a necessity. They say the world is thirsty for good entrepreneurs, and good ideas are needed. We must be ready for change, because in the next five years, the way of life will change completely, in shopping, education, treatment, etc.
Speakers at the Summit were also H.E. Rachel Galloway, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to North Macedonia; Isabella Wang, author and social entrepreneur for digital transformation, Ville Korpela, futurist and fellow at Dubai Future Academy, Vassilis Monastiriotis, Associate Professor of Political Economy at the European Institute and Director of LSE Research for Southeast Europe, and many others.
The 2021 Summit was organized in a hybrid form with an audience of 130 guests, as well as a large number of viewers online. Suggestions and possible solutions were offered for greater digitalization and advancement of digital skills, as well as for improving the environment and improving the quality of life.
This year, Macedonia2025 celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Summit. In the past 10 years, the Summit was attended by 520 speakers from 80 countries, including top managers and business owners, reformers, representatives of think tanks, international organizations, academia and diplomats. In these ten years, over three thousand five hundred visitors from different sectors followed the speakers at the Macedonia 2025 Summit.