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Lukashenko wants new ideas from IT sector

President 12.04.2019 | 13:44

MINSK, 12 April (BelTA) – During his visit to the Hi-Tech Park on 12 April, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko asked the IT community to put forward their ideas on how to drive the country's IT sector further, BelTA has learned.

“It is important for me to hear your proposals on how to advance even further,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state noted that the IT community thanked him for his efforts to promote the IT sector, including for his decision to pass Decree No.8. However, the president believes that in many ways the IT sector is the one to say thanks to. “The decree is more about you than about me. Once we took this risk and started building this park. It took more courage to set up the park than to adopt the decree you talked about,” the president noted.

“Feel free to tell me what you need in order to move forward at least in the same pace as you did in the past two years. I am ready to hear out your proposals if you have any. If you are not ready to articulate them now, you can do it later. Your proposals will reach me within a day,” the president noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he had a long-term vision for the Hi-Tech Park when he signed it into existence. “The world started moving in this direction. Everyone realized that we could not do without it. Our country is not rich in hydrocarbons. I was fully aware of it. We needed to find something that would drive our country forward and secure its independence, as we live in a wonderful, but very dangerous place – geographical center of Europe. Therefore, you need to be very careful and watchful in your actions and politics, in particular, when you are responsible for millions of people,” the president noted.

The head of state added that one of the things that made him consider establishing the HTP was a conversation with the head of an American IT company. This person spoke exceptionally highly of the capacities and potential of Belarusian IT specialists. “It made me think. I thought that it might be true if billionaires, tycoons say so. We treaded cautiously towards it. And then you started persistently demanding that the government and I should take vigorous and decisive action to promote the Hi-Tech Park and the IT sector,” the head of state noted.

The president shared the logic behind his decision to sign the decree on digital economy promotion. “I thought that we would not lose anything anyway. If we fall through, we will just move on. If we succeed, we will gain. That was my rationale. I signed the documents that you had prepared together with experts,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president cited several examples of the traditional industries and companies that Belarus kept afloat during the years of independence. The products of these companies are in demand abroad. However, at present the real economic sector needs IT solutions. “Your vision and solutions are needed everywhere now. They help us in the real economic sector. It will be very hard for us to survive in this real world or virtual reality without the real economic sector. We should understand it,” the president added.

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The initiative to set up a digital economy ministry in Belarus was put forward by Viktor Prokopenya, an entrepreneur, the founder of the investment company VP Capital. In his opinion, such a ministry could act as a central staff and could take care of overseeing all the informatization processes in the country.
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Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “You and I have embarked upon this policy and will not be swayed from it. We will continue walking straight. If we encounter some sharp angles we don't need today, we will steer around them but I've supported you and will support you."
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Much depends on the family as well, the head of state added. Parents should also encourage their children to study.
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According to Vsevolod Yanchevsky, prior to 2017 the Hi-Tech Park's export did not grow steadily. It even dropped gradually. The trend was reversed unexpectedly later: in 2017 the Hi-Tech Park's export grew by 25% to reach $1 billion.
Opinion: Belarus is becoming an artificial intelligence hub in the region
“Belarus is confidently and rapidly turning into an artificial intelligence hub in the Eastern European region. It is one of the basic and breakthrough areas in the IT sector,” said Director of the Hi-Tech Park Administration Vsevolod Yanchevsky.

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