Belgrade to have the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, today in Geneva attended  the signing of the Agreement establishing the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Serbia, the first of its kind in the region of the Western Balkans.

At the WEF Headquarters the Agreement was signed by the Director of the Government Office for IT and eGovernment, Mihailo Jovanović, and the Executive Director in the charge of the of the World Economic Forum’s C4IR, Jeremy Jurgens.

The said Centre in Serbia will be the 16th such centre in the Network of the C4IR of the World Economic Forum and the first in the Western Balkans.

The new Centre will begin operations as of 1 March, and it will operate as a non-profit organisation and platform for public-private partnerships and cooperation for the fourth industrial revolution, while the focus of its work will be artificial intelligence and bio-engineering.

The signing of this agreement was attended also by Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, with whom the PM Brnabić met before the signing. In her statement for the media, Brnabić stated that this Agreement is a result of many years of working together between Serbia and the World Economic Forum (WEF). „We started our talks already in 2018, by signing the Memorandum of Understanding, and subsequently in 2020, this cooperation slowed down, but we resumed the planning in 2021 and here we are now“.

According to her statement, the Centre will be focused on developing artificial intelligence, biomedicine and biotechnology, and she pointed to ways in which digitalisation can contribute to productivity of the companies and the economy generally. This subsequently leads to higher salaries, better standard of living, and economy based on knowledge, creativity and innovation, stated Brnabić.

She emphasised that presently we have huge recognition of what Serbia has done in the area of digitalisation, development of high tech, and paradigm change – transition for the economy based on labour intensive investments towards digital development. That is why this Agreement indicates that Serbia is recognised as a leader in economy and IT industry over the last six years, said the PM, noting that this is the beginning of closer cooperation between Serbia and the World Economic Forum.

She added that with the Centre in Serbia will meet every month with the other 16 WEF centres for the fourth industrial revolution globally to discuss what each centre is working on, since they are focused on different things. „Thus, every month we will hear what each of them is doing, learn from each other, and I am convinced that the Centre in Belgrade will be among the best“, said the Government Prime Minister.

According to her words, this will give us visibility that will additionally establish Serbia as an investment destination, a country good to live in, attractive for investment in new tech and knowledge.

Jovanović explained that the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Serbia will operate within the Office for IT and eGovernment. He added that this Centre will closely cooperate with other relevant national institutions, primarily the Research and Development Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, other national institutions, scientific institutes and the private sector. As he stated, the eco-system built around the Centre will make use of the infrastructure of the National Platform for Development of Artificial Intelligence, the Centre for Genome Sequencing, and the future Bio-Economics Centre – BIO4 Campus.

The signing of the Agreement establishing the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the World Economic Forum is a recognition of results achieved by the Government of Serbia in digitalization projects, developing the IT sector and eGovernment, innovations and investments in education and knowledge. Its establishment is yet another strong impetus to continued development of the IT sector and innovations, the technological revival and leadership of Serbia in the part of Europe. In the era of the fourth industrial revolution Serbia will harness its opportunity and become a regional leader in technology and science.

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