President Karis: Economic growth must stem from innovation

President Alar Karis addressing Latitude59.
President Alar Karis addressing Latitude59. Source: Mattias Tammet/Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia

The best response to new challenges in a changing world are a science-guided corralling of human capital, skills and knowledge, President Alar Karis says.

Speaking at the annual Latitude59 conference, where the head of state gave the opening address, the president said: "My firm belief is that innovation is the next step in Estonia's economic development."

While "traditional" companies have their place, "true success" can only be attained via technocracy, he added.

"Traditional companies and those with less developed technology will always have a role to play in the economy, but science and innovation will form the basis of true success," President Karis continued via a press release.

This is evidenced by the prominence of two tech-related security issues, namely cyber security and defense more broadly, and the proliferation of crypto currencies.

"The situation in Europe has changed how people are behaving online as well," the president said, referencing the changed security situation.

"Cyber attacks are nothing new, but since web-based services are playing an ever bigger role in our day-to-day lives, we should be paying more attention to what is happening online," he added.

He also thanked NATO for establishing the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) fund for new initiatives. "We need to be constructing secure digital systems that are based on scientific studies and innovation, and building bridges with those who are modernizing the fields of defense and security," the president said.

Similar rules should be established around the world in regard to crypto assets, so as to close the gaps being used by fraudsters, criminals and terrorists who might otherwise exploit legal loopholes or avoid sanctions imposed against them, the head of state said.

"Digital companies too can contribute to security by boosting that of their own systems and establishing high standards for their platforms," he added.

"In devising new solutions, one has to remain one step ahead of cyber criminals."

Overall, R&D and education remain key, the president said.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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