Prime Minister opened the World Forum for Direct Investment 2009


2009 06 10


Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has opened the World Forum for Direct Investment 2009 to be held in Vilnius for two days.
The Forum, first time held in Vilnius, has gathered more than 150 international business leaders to discuss matters related with foreign direct investment and present development strategies for international corporations.
Here is the opening address by Prime Minister Kubilius at the Forum:

Your Excellencies, honoured guests, and participants of the World Forum for Direct Investment 2009,

I am pleased to welcome you at the Forum 2009 taking place in Lithuania - the first host for the World Forum for Direct Investment in the Emerging Europe. Welcome to the region which has been explored by an increasing number of world’s investment gurus for its vast market development opportunities.

We have met in Vilnius during challenging times; the global financial and economic turmoil is not over yet. Green shoots could be seen already, however, it will take some time and effort until we can claim that we are on the sustainable path to recovery. I believe these difficult times can be best for consolidation of political will, which is needed for change.
Over the last decade, Lithuania was not afraid of change and has taken a huge leap towards the economy based on high technologies and international services. The market principles were established, industries were liberalised and restructured. Knowledge economy and high-tech business development is the priority goal in the Lithuanian Government’s policy.
Lithuania leads the world in the ratio number of mobile phone subscribers and is the 1st in Europe in GSM penetration, has the broadest high-speed mobile broadband coverage in Europe and maintains the densiest network of public Internet access points in Europe.

The combination of one of the best educated and multilingual people in the European Union, with global leadership in the manufacturing and sales of certain high-tech products as well as world-scale pharmaceutical research and inventions may appear as a non-discovered Eastern European, and Lithuanian potential for a number of investors worldwide.

One of the aspects that will be discussed during this Forum is the global competition to attract talent, and how to attract emigrants back home or how to stop the brain drain.

Lithuania is not an exception. However, we see increased economic links with countries of emigrants’ residence, new business knowledge and innovative experience gained abroad and successfully applied on the home market on the return as the benefits of emigration which can help drive the national economy forward.

Considering the resources and potential of Lithuania, in the short to mid-term, I would identify three potential avenues of foreign investment into the country: value-driven opportunities, manufacturing requiring highly skilled workforce and shared services centres. The government is making everything what is needed to create the best environment to attract FDI, especially in the fields of high-tech and knowledge based economy. During the first months of our cabinet we were successful not only in crisis management, fiscal consolidation and implementation of ambitious business stimulus package, but also in starting radical reform in the system of high-education, which will bring new quality into our universities. We are also starting to invest up to 10 % of EU structural funds into upgrading of our universities research facilities, having a vision of creation of high-tech clusters, starting from Sunrise Valley in Vilnius. We are also pushing radical reforms in business environment, trying to abolish all the „red-tape“ and over bureaucracy for business.

I would encourage you to refresh your investment portfolio in Lithuania, alongside with many big corporate names that are already at home in Lithuania. Please explore the sound place to generate and realize your new ideas during the World Forum for Direct Investment 2009. I would wish you a pleasant and fruitful stay in Lithuania.