CHISINAU, Moldova, Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- President Maia Sandu has challenged Moldovans to "Start Innovation" to carve a path to a new and better future. Moldova faces serious challenges from migration and brain drain to corruption, economic disparity, and low wages; but its leaders see this moment of rapid global digitalization as a unique opportunity to harness innovation and technology to create a future-ready economy and democracy. "Moldova may not be blessed with natural gas, oil, or other resources. Instead, Moldova is endowed with talented and inventive people. Thanks to them, we have enormous potential for development which we must capitalize on. The tech revolution has changed the way we live, work, and learn. The Future cannot be predicted, but it can be created. Through education, research, and technological development, we can transform Moldova into an innovative country. Let's be the change in an ever-changing world," said President Sandu, jumpstarting the launch of a nation-wide innovation campaign. The President underscored the key role of technology in innovation, "Digitalization can lower transaction costs, increase transparency, and reduce corruption. But it is innovation that can harness that technology to do so much more."
Moldova's burgeoning tech industry has the potential to drive innovation and growth across the entire economy. With Moldova's IT exports growing 100-fold in the last 15 years to $258M in 2020, IT is the fastest growing sector in the country. It also pays four times the country average wage. The Government's innovative virtual IT Park policy with a single 7% tax on technology, engineering, R&D, and createch businesses has paid off, attracting 900 resident firms from 35 countries and encouraging formalization of small tech firms and entrepreneurs. Moldova plans to use its burgeoning IT sector and tech capabilities to digitally transform winemaking, agriculture, tourism, green manufacturing, and media. Moldova's Harvard educated Prime Minister Natalia Gavriliţa, who previously served as the Director of the Global Innovation Fund, has set innovation as a key priority and appointed a dedicated Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization for the first time to lead Government digital transformation. Prime Minister Gavriliţa noted, "For the Republic of Moldova, technologies represent a valuable economic opportunity with a visible impact on quality of life." The Moldovan Government is teaming up with the country's largest universities to increase IT and engineering graduates and create tech-driven specialties in new media, creative technologies, and digital fashion, educating students for the jobs of the future.
In its innovation journey, Moldova will be supported by top global innovators – the United States and Sweden - to develop a digital, creative, and sustainable economy and propel Moldova to the top of the Global Innovation Index. In support of Moldova's vision, the USAID Administrator Samantha Power visited the Republic of Moldova and launched the Future Technologies Activity – Moldova's widest-reaching and largest technology development project – at $32.8 million – funded by USAID and Sweden.
"Moldova's young people are talented, creative, and energized. But if the industries of the future develop outside of Moldova's borders, then those young people will be tempted to take their talents abroad rather than develop their careers here at home. The Future Technologies Activity will help create pathways for Moldova's youth. It will allow Moldovan companies to access European and global markets. It will equip young Moldovans with the skills and knowledge they need to take advantage of a growing digital economy. And it will help make the words, 'Made in Moldova' a point of pride here at home and a mark of quality around the world," said Samantha Power, the USAID Administrator.
Future Technologies Launch Event, protocol picture of high-level attendees and speakers, including Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita and USAID Administrator Samantha Power