Admin October 12, 2021


These are some of today's conclusions from the second day of 4th Digital Summit of Western Balkans, organized by the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media. 

State Secretary at the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, Marina Banovic, said, summarizing the conclusions, that today the winners of the regional online competition have presented their digital solutions with a focus on smart cities, green cities, e-health solutions, social entrepreneurship, and even agriculture. 

“In the first session of the second day, we learned how to balance hard and soft infrastructure to ensure meaningful and inclusive connectivity. Because, today, connecting is as important as water and electricity ", stated Banović. 

She said that in the Western Balkans, connecting remains a challenge, because the penetration of Internet in the households is still not at a satisfactory level. 

“In fact, a quarter of the population does not have the Internet access at home. Girls more than boys, people with disabilities and ethnic and linguistic minorities are at particular risk of being marginalized. There is also a strong division between the urban and rural areas, which, in addition to the socio-economic status, represents a great obstacle to connection,” said Banovic. 

She said that in order to overcome those obstacles, infrastructure must be established. 

“For example, we have to increase the number of computers in schools, because there is a lack of devices. We need more investment, including providing broadband internet access in rural and remote areas. But we also need to strike the leverage between hard and soft infrastructure, which means investing not only in broadband and 5G networks, but also in digital skills, educational strategies, legal framework, data protection and launching innovations in the environment,” Banovic said. 

She said that it one of the messages conveyed today was that both 5G and artificial intelligence will have a deep and positive transformational impact on our lives and the environment, not only in the Western Balkans, but also globaly. 

“This will encourage innovation in business and society, which will consequently lead to increased economic growth, incite both investments and market competition. The 5G technology and artificial intelligence complement each other efficiently, because the 5G ensures the development of new artificial intelligence solutions, whereas the artificial intelligence provides better penetration into the 5G,” said Banovic. 


She said that while there is a strong commitment in accelerating the implementation of 5G technology and artificial intelligence, it must be supported by all key actors, including governments and businesses. 

“In particular, governments must take the lead and create the conditions for investment by providing regulatory support and long-term plans for the application of 5G technology, artificial intelligence and the Internet of things. This synergy of new technologies will lead to a better quality of life for our citizens,“ emphasized Banovic. 

She said the seventh panel focused on opportunities and challenges related to electronic identity, abs monitoring and certification procedures. 

“For digital solutions to work, they must be usable and accepted everywhere. Building technology is important, but even more important is building trust in digital identity solutions. We need people and businesses to trust the services they use by providing a secure ICT infrastructure, keeping in mind data protection. Governments again play a key role in this process, because they have to provide good legal frameworks for these solutions to really work,” Banovic said. 

She pointed out that the key conclusion of this panel is that technology is only part of the digital transformation and that building trust, ensuring interoperability and developing a regulatory framework are equally or even more important. 

“Finally, the last panel discussion focused on cooperation between governments and industry in the field of cyber security. Although the digital transformation has helped to improve the work of institutions, it has also brought many challenges, especially in terms of online security. In order to be able to use digital services, we have to make sure that they are safe,” Banovic said. 

Governments and industries, she added, play a pivotal role in this process. 

“On the one hand, governments must make cyber security a top priority, not only in the areas of finance, national security and defense, but also in the area of foreign policy. They must provide supportive policy frameworks, awareness campaigns, capacity building and ongoing monitoring and audit. On the other hand, the private sector must also provide how better protection, recognizing that this requires costs and investments. Finally, it is important to involve people in the process of change,” Banovic said. 

The last day of the Western Balkans Digital Summit will be held tomorrow, and the link to follow the events for the media is 

2021 Western Balkans Digital Summit is being held as part of the Berlin Process and as an initiative of the Regional Cooperation Council, and the importance of the Summit has been reaffirmed through the new four-year action plan 2021-2024, for the Common Regional Market (CRM). 

The host and organizer of this year's Summit is the Ministry of Public Administration of Digital Society and Media on behalf of the Government of Montenegro, while the general sponsor is the company M:TEL 

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