President Levits opened the meeting by underlining that modern digital systems are strategically important for Latvia, Europe and the rest of the world. He also mentioned that ‘there are some digital areas where Latvia is among leading countries and we have good foundation for the future, and everyone is also starkly aware of areas in which we are underperforming in terms of resource efficiency’. Egils Levits noted that comprehensive digital transformation in Latvia must be underpinned by a thorough cost-benefit analysis, ‘We have to be able to see the advantages of digitalisation very clearly. Everyone should be able to see what they are getting, what advantages they are offered. There is no point investing in something if we do not know the outcome.’ President also said that ‘there are different ways to measure gains: by measuring efficiency, convenience, scientific leap. We must also be aware of the risks involved. The greater the degree of digitalisation, the greater are the risks that are associated with data protection, manipulation and so on. Clear understanding of risks and opportunities should give us a better understanding of where to place public investments coming from the European Union to maximise the gains in each step of the digital transformation. Technologies will follow’.
This was the concluding discussion in a series of meetings organised by Ieva Ilves, Adviser to the President of Latvia for Information and Digital Policy, to identify Latvia’s digital deficits and success stories, which will feed into coordinated, single and user-centred digital services framework. Ieva Ilves underlined several important issues in her speech: fragmentation of services and governance and service systems that are too complicated for users. One of the key focuses of her speech was IT education and broadband connectivity for schools, as well as promotion of digital literacy across all age groups.
Discussion also touched upon ICT workforce challenges and resource constraints faced by higher education and research sectors.
President of Latvia will present his digital sector audit findings tomorrow, on 2 December, during his address to participants of the annual LIKTA conference ‘Digital transformation’.