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Opening speech of Prime Minister of Latvia Aigars Kalvītis at the 10th
International Conference “Information Technologies and
telecommunications in the Baltic Sea and CEE region” – BITT2006
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Honourable participants and
guests of the Conference!
I am happy to open this conference at the same time when our country
has stepped on a new path of development. Recently we have set down a new
model of national development - a model that intend for noteworthy
investments into the science and education.
Latvia has survived the actual breakdown of soviet time industries. It
doesn’t have remarkable natural resources. The main resource of Latvia is the
knowledge of its people. This is not the property of the state or a small group
of the rich. It belongs to everybody, every citizen of the country. And this is
why I see it very stimulating. Knowledge determines the quality of human
resources; it facilitates capital investments and encourages the development of
new technologies.
The future development of Latvia should be based in knowledge. This is
not a new proposal. We talk about it for ten years. But knowledge is not a
piece of solid gold that can be stored in safe-deposit or converted to currency.
Knowledge means educated people who want to work. People who want to
utilize their knowledge raising their living standards, raising the productivity
of their labour. Such people always set specified aims in their lives. Hence the
government has to provide explicit support for education and lifelong
learning. We have to ensure that knowledge management, coordinated and
directed learning, accumulation, dissemination and use of knowledge would
became a foundation of economical and social life.
Nowadays it’s hard to imagine a field of business not being directly
dependent on new technologies, innovations, continuous and regular scientific
research. We are highly interested in cooperation between science and private
enterprise, creating an enabling environment for such collaboration and
investing more money in it.
We want to secure such business environment that stimulates healthy
competition. Environment where a small enterprise has equal opportunities to
grow and develop. Environment where young scientists have equal facilities to
get to information and financial resources. Environment where culture and
creativity would be profitable industries, profitable in all senses of this word.
Achievements of talented, knowledgeable and enterprising people should
motivate economical, social and political participation of every citizen.
As the Head of Latvian Government, I would like to mark out these three
elements – education, science and competitiveness - as the main fields in
which the level of the development of information technologies nowadays is
also one of the crucially important pre-conditions.
Three Baltic States are the fastest developing economies in the European
Union today. The average growth in GDP of EU member states was 1.68% in
2005 while Latvian economy in the respective time period grew by 10%. The
same macroeconomic indicators for Estonia and Lithuania were 9.2% and 8.2
% respectively. For such a dynamic environment there is a need in up-to-date
IT & T technologies and services.
When starting its work, this government set as one of its priorities the
development of an information society where not only the development of
information technologies is actively stimulated, but also the advantages of
these technologies are extensively used in all spheres of life. Of course, this
requires a technological basis; nevertheless, an educated society is an essential
precondition. Besides government support, private companies can bring and
do bring a significant contribution in this area. This is extremely healthy
competition, from which the whole society will benefit. You can be sure – the
government will support healthy competition.
Skills of using information technologies are not conservative knowledge
that could be taught with the help of decades-old textbooks. These skills are
largely a new kind of attitude towards the training process as such,
understanding of technological solutions that are always ready to offer ever
new opportunities. And an important component of these new practical
opportunities is choice and alternative offers, in other words – development.
There are many indications that let us look optimistically towards the
future. I wish you all success and creative cooperation!
Thank you for your attention!