EU’s digital delays could cost region €1.5tn in benefits, report finds
The European Union (EU) risks falling short of its Digital Decade goals by up to 10 years unless member states focus on closing the skills gap, according to a strategic consultancy Public First report.
Last year the EU released its 2030 vision that aims to transform the region’s digital skills with 80% of the population acquiring a “basic” understanding; 5G connectivity everywhere; fully online public services, and cloud services being used by 75% of EU firms.
The EU is on track to unlock €1.3tn ($1.36tn) in economic value by 2030. Yet the report, which was commissioned by Amazon Web Services (AWS), warned that at the present rate of progress, it would take until 2040 to meet all the targets. If progress hastens, however, up to a further €1.5tn in additional benefits could be generated by the end of this decade, the report said.
“The biggest blocker we have heard from our customers and what is stated in this report as well is the lack of digital skills,” Tanuja Randery, managing director at AWS, told Reuters.
As businesses transition to the cloud is predicted to be a big growth driver, many firms such as AWS have been offering free training for employees to acquire cloud skills or job seekers to get into the tech field.
Yet the study stated that just 61% of the EU’s population is estimated to have developed basic digital skills by 2030, short of the 80% target.
Amidst factors that could accelerate progress toward EU’s targets, the report suggested an increase in cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), big data adoption by EU businesses, and more government funding for research and development.
A number of firms have not adopted new tech tools and a shortage of skilled workers would likely hamper growth and increase costs, it said.
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