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Remarks by Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė at business Forum Opening Ceremony

22 October 2021, Al Wasl Plaza,
Expo 2020 Dubai, UAE

Your Highness Vice-President, Ministers, business Forum
Participants, Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Congratulations to the organisers of EXPO 2020! This impressive event brings together government representatives, business leaders, and accomplished researchers from all around the globe. It allows us to share our ideas, learn from each other, and explore ways to build a better and more sustainable future. My special thanks goes to the Lithuanian team EXPO 2020 and our business representatives, who have worked together to make today’s event happen.

Today more than 100 Lithuanian business representatives from sectors as diverse as lasers, IT, life sciences, fintech, the food industry and others are present at this Forum. I wish today’s B2B meetings to be plentiful and lead to new partnerships.

In recent years, Lithuania has consistently focused on high value-added sectors: 70 % of all investments go to IT, life sciences, and fintech. We are steadily making our way to become, by 2030, a life sciences hot spot in the region, with the life sciences sector generating 5 % of our GDP. One in ten of scientific lasers used in the entire world today are made in Lithuania. With the onset of the pandemic, Lithuania’s biotechnology sector has started manufacturing ingredients for coronavirus vaccines. We have the scientific potential, entrepreneurship skills, and ambition to become one of the region’s hubs in gene editing. Some of our achievements and potential can be seen here, at the Lithuanian Pavilion.

Lithuania’s economy has been remarkably resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world economy contracted by 3.5 % in 2020, Lithuania’s GDP decrease was very moderate during the pandemic and returned to growth in the second half of 2020. This year we expect Lithuania’s economy to grow by 4,3%, and we expect a 4 % growth next year.

As a member of the euro area, Lithuania has maintained sufficient fiscal space to be able to provide liquidity assistance to support affected households when the pandemic hit. Alongside its efforts to fight the effects of the pandemic, my Government has set the goal of transforming Lithuania’s economy by achieving faster growth in high value-added sectors.

The economic recovery offers more opportunities to build a modern economy by promoting future-oriented inclusive and green policies. Lithuania has been targeting investments and promoting the transition to renewable energy sources, introducing environmentally friendly and waste-reducing technologies. Wind, solar, and hydrogen technologies are on the rise. We bring science, business, and public sector together for a common goal: to properly prepare for green and innovative future. Humanity’s achievements have brought the Moon and Mars within our reach, and the distances that separate us have become insignificant thanks to air travel and the Internet. Today we can take steps to connect minds and create a technology-based sustainable future that our economies and societies deserve.

With great talent in science and business, today’s Lithuania can be a part of solutions in the wide range of fields – from life sciences and renewable energy to sustainable food production. I trust that the ideas brought forward in this forum and the bridges of cooperation built here will translate into projects that will benefit our countries and countries around the globe. I wish you all an inspiring and meaningful discussion today that responds to the challenges facing the world.