Photo by: Andrej Tarfila

According to the new McKinsey report(Digital Challengers in the next normal: Central and Eastern Europe on a path to digitally-led growth), acceleration of creating a digital, tech-driven economy could be the key to post-pandemic growth in the region. Central and European countries have already shown remarkable development over the past decades. According to Eurostat the ten CEE countries analysed in this report—Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia—increased per capita GDP by 115 percent in the period 2004–2019.

The original success of this region was largely driven by strong traditional sectors of the economy, dynamic exports, and investments from abroad, labor-cost advantages and funding from the European Union (EU). However, many of these engines are now beginning to power down.

This where digital development can step in: according to the McKinsey report in 2019 the CEE region surpassed the “business as usual” scenario laid out in the previous report by €2 billion. But its full potential was still not realized.

The world that emerges from the pandemic will surely be more digital than today. This is also reflected in this McKinsey report on digital economy. In January-May 2020, the digital economy of CEE grew almost twice as fast as in previous years. Three out of four people in CEE are now digitally engaged.

According to the report restrictions imposed during the pandemic accelerated digital adoption by citizens and required companies and governments to adjust the way they interact with them. Many decision makers and businesses now see digitization as a necessary step forward.

More about the report