EBA held a high-profile dialogue together with the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine
On Tuesday, July 21, the European Business Association together with the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine held a high-profile international dialogue “Transformation: Lessons to Learn”. During the event, Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, and Simonetta Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation, discussed the transformation processes in their respective countries and the prospects of bilateral cooperation in the context of new modern challenges.
The latest global developments have significantly accelerated the pace of digital change around the world. In this time of uncertainty, Ukraine is in active search for the most effective ways to manage changes considering the experience of other countries. In this context, the experience of Switzerland as a country with a success story of digital transformation is worth mentioning. We hope that the dialogue and cooperation between the two countries will give impetus to the development of digital solutions at the state level.
Thus, the Prime Minister believes that the crisis creates new opportunities for innovations. Moreover, cooperation between Ukraine and Switzerland, particularly in science and technology, contributes to innovative development. The Government is grateful to Switzerland for supporting Ukraine on its path to digital transformation, and the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, for supporting the Diia project. The functions of the Diia portal will be further expanded. Thus, new electronic registers are being developed to initiate new standards of work and minimize corruption risks for business. The Government also welcomes the concession of the Kherson Seaport to Risoil, a company with Swiss capital. The successful implementation of this project will set a positive precedent for the entire infrastructure industry.
We hope that the visit of the President of Switzerland will be a catalyst for the development of bilateral relations in the fields of economy, ecology, and infrastructure. Switzerland is already among the top five countries investing in Ukraine, with an investment volume of more than 2.7 billion US dollars. We hope that the number of investments will only increase, for which, however, it is necessary to create favorable conditions.
Mr. Schmyhal assured that the Government is ready to continue reforms to ensure economic development and the recovery of affected industries. To this end, the Cabinet of Ministers has developed a program to stimulate the economy, which, according to the Prime Minister, will allow Ukraine to get into the top 30 countries in the Doing Business ranking for the coming years. The Government will pay special attention to medical and judicial reforms, which are critical for business and society. Mr. Schmyhal hopes that the first results of this Program and other transformation processes in the country will be tangible by the end of this year.
As for her part, Simonetta Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation, shared her country’s experience of digital transformation. According to Mrs. Sommaruga, the pandemic contributed to a better understanding of all the benefits of the digital society in Switzerland, as all spheres of life like education, work, and leisure could continue to fully exist online. President Sommaruga considers that the coronavirus crisis is an impetus for the development of technologies, which, in turn, creates new business opportunities. We need to keep in mind that people are behind technological development, so we need to invest in people, first and foremost, in their education and development. It was also pleasing to know that Ukraine is in a great starting position for digital development according to the President of the Swiss Confederation.
Separately, Mrs. Sommaruga raised the issue of cybersecurity and human rights in a digital society. Through public-private partnerships and global cooperation, it is important to minimize the risks of online activities. It is necessary to protect people and businesses from cyber threats and ensure their right to freedom of speech and information, as well as respect for privacy. Innovation saves lives and creates jobs, therefore the future should be shaped by innovative ideas.
Also, Stephan Sigrist, Dr. sc. ETH Zürich, Founder and Head of W.I.R.E. Think Tank, joined the meeting in online mode. Mr. Sigrist emphasized the importance of being mobile and flexible in a rapidly changing world and spoke about how technology and information are penetrating everyday life. More and more businesses are gaining a competitive advantage using technology and data, and in the world, after COVID-19 this will become the new normal. However, Mr. Sigrist stressed that we need to be aware of the risks and responsibilities for such transformations and that companies and governments should build a reliable information architecture and social responsibility system.
We hope that our conversation will create new insights for discussion, encourage changes in private and public institutions, and help to rethink values and priorities in the new reality. Thanks to all the speakers and participants of the discussion! We look forward to seeing you soon!