What could we learn from Lithuania to prepare for our digital future?
1/5 of the total Lithuanian exports of domestically produced goods are manufactured by the traditional engineering sector and Lithuanian products are exported all over the world. As Lithuania is becoming even stronger in the IT and engineering industries, it is expected to see even more Lithuanian products all around the world. So far, the most commonly exported products from the country are electronic machinery and equipment, plastic products, products of iron and steel, machinery and mechanical appliances, which are all in growing demand right now, as the move to Industry 4.0 is now trending. Lithuania is doing really well at implementing the new industrial standards and there are a few things Germany could learn from Lithuania when it comes to the implementation of technology, so let’s have a look at a few of them.
Reducing bureaucracy for businesses
According to the World Bank’s Doing business report, Lithuania is the 11th country in the world by the ease of starting and growing a business. In comparison, Finland is 20th, Poland is 40th, and Germany is 22nd. Registering a business in Lithuania can take just a few days, the procedure of filing tax reports recently changed due to a new and vastly improved system, and more importantly, all of these things can be done remotely as the usage of e-signature in the country is over 75%. It is very clear that Lithuania is open to implementing and using the latest technologies. According to Mindaugas Glodas, the CEO of NRD Companies, countries like Lithuania could be more agile and help move countries such as Germany to the digital age much faster.
Adjusting fintech regulations to the new trends
Lithuania is one of the leading countries in multiple tech subsectors, and it is becoming especially relevant in the field of fintech startups: according to Findexable rankings, it is one of the leaders in the fintech industry in the EU. The financial sector is advancing quickly, and we see more and more digitalization, but many countries are still behind. Meanwhile, the Bank of Lithuania made sure to adjust as rapidly. It is one of the first countries in the world to use IMF’s and World Bank’s guiding principles for fintech regulation, while still having strict regulatory tools to maintain risk management. This is why the Bank of Lithuania can issue licenses for financial companies 2-3 times faster than other jurisdictions. As a result, Lithuania has issued over 120 licenses with over half of them being electronic money institutions, while Germany, despite its size, has only around 80 licenses with most of them being payment institution licenses.
Encouraging young talents to choose IT
IT education is the center of attention in Lithuania. Even during childhood, people are encouraged to at least try IT. The country has two large NGOs that are promoting IT. One of them is Robotics Academy that teaches kids to work with robotics and programming, meanwhile “Kompiuteriukų fondas” is trying to reshape IT lessons in school using BBC:MicroBit microcomputers and visual programming.
Also, Lithuania’s population has EU-leading higher education numbers, and choosing IT as a university field is becoming increasingly more popular. The country is committed to growing STEM education, which is why Lithuania is the 1st country in CEE by university-business collaboration in R&D, and it is ranked 2nd globally by Bloomberg for ‘tertiary efficiency’.
Digital future: what steps should be taken next?
Both Lithuania and Germany are doing great at implementing the latest networks, open data policies and Industry 4.0 standards, but closer integration in Europe in terms of data sharing would bring the whole continent significant advantage over the rest of the world.
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