We implement 'Rotterdam +,' while they have 'Rotterdam –,' - Zelensky at iForum

Author : Volodymyr Zelensky

Source : 112 Ukraine

Find out the first public speech by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky after his inauguration
13:05, 24 May 2019

IForum is the biggest offline-conference dedicated to the Web in Ukraine. This conference includes seven main streams with presentations from professional speakers in different fields: Internet-Business, Startups / Blockchain, Advertising&Promotion, Internet Technologies, Future (technology, business, education, society), Digital Fun, CRM.

IForum is the biggest offline-conference dedicated to the Web in Ukraine. This conference includes seven main streams with presentations from professional speakers in different fields: Internet-Business, Startups / Blockchain, Advertising&Promotion, Internet Technologies, Future (technology, business, education, society), Digital Fun, CRM. 

You have a very cool forum. It's my first time here and it's really, very nice. Of course, Mishka Fedorov has already spoken to me (one of president Zelensky’s advisors, - ed.). Thank you so much, this is our common bread. But, first, I want to say that everyone here at iForum has fancy cell phones, with the most expensive cameras, as I say. To be honest, I feel much better here than on Bankova street (where President’s Administration is situated, - ed.). I have spent there for three days, and here I meet some people. So thank you (bows) for calling.

Related: Zelensky: We want to fit government in smartphone

First, I want to apologize for these metal detectors installed there. Please excuse the fact that you had to go through these detectors. I think that in general, the framework that appeared here at the iForum is very symbolic. I think that some of you would definitely come up with an alternative to these metal detectors.

This is a very decent startup, and you have my word, as the president of Ukraine (I still can’t get used to it), that I would be the first customer of this startup so that someone can get rich. Actually, speaking about innovations, speaking about politics, Mykhailo Fedorov (one of president Zelensky’s advisors, - ed.)  has already started talking about our successful campaign or has already said everything, I would like to tell you that officials, politicians, and innovations are absolutely two different worlds. It's just some kind of disaster, and there is a feeling that we live on different planets: people with innovations and politicians. I'll tell you the truth, as a rule, officials use four words: innovations, digitalization, Hyperloop, and Elon Musk.

After these four words, they, as a rule, say: we have said something, and we need to change something. I will honestly tell you as an average citizen, not as a president: I personally cannot change anything alone. In terms of innovation, digitalization, we can do it together. Not accidentally, the motto of our campaign was “Let us do it together,” that’s how it works. Because all of you together have a lot more in your head than I do. (Well, I have something too).

I definitely do not want to promise you today that within five years we will open a thousand Tesla factories here or that we will have Hyperloops between these factories, Elon Mask will cut the ribbon, and we will appoint him an innovation minister. Although maybe we can agree about the latter.

 But I know exactly why I am here, and I want to talk about this with you, and about those things we can do together. I want you to look at my first slide. It is about Guttenberg; I would call him “overgrown Steve Jobs.” At one time he changed the era. Do you know what he has invented? A typographic press with moving letters. You know, this dude has broken his era – good job, but today we live in a world when there are such discoveries that put the world upside down; several in one year. I am happy to live in these times. And we have this in our hands today. I will give you another example – MIT the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it has presented a new system for diagnosing breast cancer. This is a unique thing; it is such a unique new technological Dr. House. This is a real revolution; you can predict breast cancer a few years before its first symptoms. Let us see the world key investment trends. If we speak about healthcare, the world really invests in preventive medicine. What do we invest in? We use different smart phrases to say that we need digitalization of medicine, we need a breakthrough, our doctors need a decent level. That is right. This is clear, our clinics need normal conditions. This obvious, but it is not enough. We invest in medical treatment of diseases. And this is a matter of fact. But guys (pardon me for such a word), they put their brains into preventive medicine. And this is a gap. This is a break in consciousness, a break in epochs, and this is a struggle. There is innovation in this or that industry, and I understand that it is very difficult for us to talk about what would happen in the future without having a present. I will give you a more vivid example, from the present, absolutely from another sphere.

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Please note: the United Kingdom has spent a week without coal. And this is a unique event for the first time since 1882. Two years before that, they did an experiment — they had lived a day without coal. What are the British men doing? They show that the whole world is refusing from using coal. What are we doing? We implement 'Rotterdam +,' while they have 'Rotterdam –' (“Rotterdam +” is a method used to calculate the prices of coal. Rotterdam Plus is set as an average market price for 12 months according to ARA Amsterdam–Rotterdam–Antwerp index, plus its freight rate to Ukraine. The price forms the basis of the wholesale market price, which is used as a forecast price for tariff setting for industrial consumers. According to critics of market pricing for energy resources, Ukrainian oligarch, key sponsor of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, Rinat Akhmetov, is the formula’s main beneficiary. The corresponding formula was adopted under Poroshenko’s rule, - ed.) These are absolutely two different worldviews. Of course, we, we cannot change everything. But we must change, otherwise, our country simply has no chance.

Of course, we must change in terms of innovation. I want to draw your attention to this slide. Here in this how it works all over the world, and here our the officials. And pay attention, this is where they can lead us, and we don't want it at all. I understand that we face serious challenges, and these are yesterdays’ challenge. Why cannot we talk about the future? There are a lot of world well-known examples. I like the example of Africa. It has successfully skipped the era of wired telephone and immediately switched to the mobile one. They have passed this stage, yes, they had such circumstances and life. But they found a way. They had loops — loops of yesterday. And they have made a real advantage of this loop. The advantage for every resident of the country. Yes, guys, we have a lot of troubles. And here's an example: the lack of electricity can lead to... The government can really step in the direction of renewable energy. The lack of banking infrastructure might force you to use digital banking. The absence of transport logistics might force you to use drones. What hinders us? It seems that we are immune to the future. But in fact, it is not true. I see so many living people, I am sure that you create great things every day. But, you create these things, and our officials and politicians absolutely do not use it. I do not want to slander them, it does not matter, and you already know everything about them.

But, imagine, what do innovations in this narrowly focused political industry mean? How can a security official blackmail you with stealing, for example, some documents, if these documents are online? How can a raider change the owners in the registry if this registry uses blockchain? It’s impossible.

How can we do it? I like the Apple’s approach when the best employees are gathered in the room, and they are immune. They make sure that not a single brilliant idea dies in the bud. The ability to catch, see, recognize, and develop this idea – this is what they are interested in. Their main task on Apple’s agenda is finding industry to break it technologically. I like it very much, and I would very much like us to apply it with you.

Related: Google to help Ukraine to implement digital technologies in education

Because, in fact, there are a lot of challenges. I will tell you a few points. We want low tariffs - we need to have less blah-blah-blah about it. We must reach for innovations of renewable energy. We want a really clean, eco-friendly affordable transport, we need to expand the infrastructure, in general, to make the infrastructure for electric vehicles and UAVs. We want a good future for our children – these are just empty words. We are talking about education – this is a key foundation, we need to apply innovations in the field of education.

Without innovations, there is no competition, without competition, there are no jobs, no production, no taxes, nothing. This is the main reason why I am here ... As for digitalization, the actual use of digital technology is 20 times cheaper than a phone and 50 times cheaper than communicating with an official. This is the statistics of the British government. There is a UN report on the development of e-government for 2018, and we can clearly see what we are striving for. Today, however regrettable it may sound, we are losing to Kazakhstan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, the Baltic countries, and to the aggressor country.

According to the human capital index, we are behind the Russian Federation, Belarus, and Estonia. That is, in general, it's not about people. In fact, we must recognize that the reason for it is in the system.

You can find me a naive dreamer, but we really want to fir the country into a smartphone, to fit the government into a smartphone.

And the introduction of the four levels. Information about the state - 1st level, communication with the state - 2nd level, transactions with the state - 3rd level, involvement in government (this is a very important stage) - 4th level.

How cool it would be when you go to work and you not only receive news or weather forecast, but you really control what bills are being submitted, and you can change them. What dudes (sorry for this word, but so far they are dudes) were elected by the people. How can they be fired, what petitions could be prepared, which bill could be amended?

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Therefore, I really dream of our country to be placed in a smartphone. And so that we would be the first country in the world, bypassing this stage, which is popular in the world today, the one, which is really difficult for us to catch up.

Frankly speaking, I cannot cope with it myself, but together we can do it. Guys, if someone has any ideas, suggestions, call Misha Fedorov to share them.

I would also like to show on the screen a quote from one great person, I’m not sure that he said it, but he probably thought so: “A great leader is not the one who does great things. A great leader is one who gives the opportunity to do these great things to people.”  Thank you.

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