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World Economic Forum: main insights

World Economic Forum (WEF) is a global platform where leaders, thinkers, and innovators converge to shape the future of our interconnected world. Therefore, the European Business Association and Global Business for Ukraine (the key goal of which is economic diplomacy) decided to conduct an event to discuss insights from the WEF in Davos and shed light on global economic trends, technological advancements, and strategic imperatives shaping the coming years.

Tymofiy Mylovanov, President of the Kyiv School of Economics, addressed global economic trends and the Ukrainian perspective. On the global front, he highlighted the dominance of AI and the diminishing focus on crypto. Discussions centered on responsible AI use, with a particular emphasis on the impact of generative AI on lower-skilled employees. Mylovanov stressed the need for workforce training and investment in human capital, especially at the frontline management level. The speech also touched on the global economic outlook, with the IMF noting controlled inflation but cautioning against expecting significant economic growth. Concerns about geopolitical fragmentation, emerging risks, and populism were discussed, emphasizing the need to rebuild global trust.


Shifting to Ukraine, Mylovanov described a nuanced picture. He underscored the complexity of Ukraine's situation, expressing optimism about the country's potential for a new social contract amid war-induced pressures.


Also Mylovanov emphasized the ongoing threat from russia and the need for international support. He expressed concerns about NATO's current inability to fulfill Ukraine's ammunition requirements, indicating a possible trend of smaller conflicts emerging globally.

Yury Antaniuk, Vice President, Head of EPAM in Central and Eastern Europe, emphasized the importance of addressing AI-related challenges and expressed optimism about Ukraine's government taking action, particularly in collaboration with Western companies specializing in technology, intelligence, data, surveillance, and AI.


He stressed the need for a concerted effort to advance technology in Ukraine, not just in traditional areas like missiles and rockets, but also in AI, given the changing nature of warfare. Antaniuk called for support from companies, urging them to contribute not only financially but also with technological expertise and human resources.

Valeriy Krasovsky, CEO of Sigma Software Group, discussed the integration of AI into their company's operations, including analyzing meeting results, creating notes, and assessing the tone of voice in negotiations. He noted the expanding use of AI in serious discussions within big companies and political contexts. The speech touched on blockchain technology, particularly its adoption by major companies, especially logistics. Krasovsky highlighted the growing interest in stablecoins backed by real assets, foreseeing potential changes in the financial economy.


He raised concerns about the absence of discussions on cybersecurity and suggested it as a critical topic for the year, along with crisis management and the challenge of disinformation. Krasovsky emphasized the need to showcase Ukrainian achievements to attract investment and support for the country's economy.

Oliver Gierlichs, General Manager of Bayer, touched on the positive developments, such as the success of the Black Sea corridor and increased foreign investment guarantees, addressing the situation in Ukraine. However, he also expressed concern about the lack of in-depth discussions on the military situation and emphasized the importance of Ukraine securing its territory.


Gierlichs shared his optimistic outlook for Ukraine in 2024, anticipating a crucial year for the country, both on the battlefield and in terms of foreign investments. He spoke about Bayers investment of 60 million euros during the war and encouraged other companies to follow suit, expressing hope that 2024 would see an influx of foreign investments into Ukraine.


Speaker emphasized the need for job creation and economic recovery in Ukraine, warning that delays in this process could result in lost years for the country. He concluded by reflecting on the positive advancements observed over the past year, particularly the shift in discussions from whether to draft Russian assets to Ukraine to when and how it should be done.

Philipp von Michalis, CEO of Global Clearance Solutions, suggested that global problems, such as wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, require more global attention to stability. However, conflicts have made world leaders more aware of the insecurity in the world, promoting the need to prepare for and live with instability. 


Michalis discussed the challenges Swiss and German businesses face in investing in Ukraine but shared his company's positive experience and efforts to contribute to the country's growth. He stressed the importance of a functioning business environment in fostering stability and supporting economic growth.


Patrick Warnking, Vice President of Central and Eastern Europe, Google, outlined the main pillars of Google's efforts in Ukraine: humanitarian help, safety and security initiatives, education, and economic stability. 


Under humanitarian aid, Google focused on assisting refugees and refugee organizations, providing safety apps against airstrikes, and supporting mental health initiatives. The safety and security pillar involved collaboration with the government on cyber resilience, supplying security keys and implementing software projects like Project Shield to protect Ukrainian media from cyber attacks.


The second pillar emphasized education, with Google delivering 50,000 Chromebooks to schools in Ukraine, offering workplace licenses, and supporting Ukrainian startups through funding initiatives. Patrick praised Ukraine's innovation in the education sector, particularly citing the Dia app's development and its goal to match global e-government standards.


In the third pillar, Patrick discussed Google's role in sustaining the economic sector by helping small, medium, and large Ukrainian companies continue their businesses. He commended the resilience of Ukrainian colleagues and their dedication to supporting the country despite challenges.


European Business Association would like to thank Google for hosting the discussion and acknowledging the contributions of Anton Aschwanden, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, Switzerland. We also recognize the significance of ongoing partnerships with Tymofiy Mylovanov, Yury Antaniuk, Valeriy Krasovsky, Oliver Gierlichs, Philipp von Michalis, and Patrick Warnking for the future development of Ukraine.


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