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2022 OECD Economic Surveys: Lithuania 2022

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Lithuania 2022

Lithuania’s economy exited the COVID-19-crisis successfully and was growing fast until early 2022, buoyed by rising exports and rapid integration into global value chains. However, with Russia’s aggression of Ukraine continuing and its consequences spreading, the outlook has darkened. Growth has slowed, and inflation has risen to some of the highest levels in the euro area, driven by high energy and food prices. The country cut all energy ties with Russia, relying on imports from other countries instead. The government supports the many Ukrainian refugees and helps households and firms weather the energy crisis. Structural unemployment and skills mismatch remain high, while poverty declines only slowly. Further reform could help maintain economic resilience and cope with rising uncertainty. Reducing the scope of state-owned firms and improving their governance would help raise productivity. Linking education to labour market needs more closely would help improve employment and skills. Greater uptake of digital technologies by firms, along with a modernised public sector and strong skills will also help lift trend growth. Reaching the climate objective of net zero emissions by 2050 will require bold policy action, both on the tax and the spending side.

SPECIAL FEATURE: REAPING THE BENEFITS OF DIGITALISATION

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Unleashing the productive potential of digitalisation

Lithuania is digitalising its economy with visible success, but much scope remains for the integration of advanced technologies. The COVID-19 crisis confirmed the importance of digitalisation to sustain activity. Increased private investment in innovation is essential to speed up digitalisation. The take-up of R&D tax incentives is low, however, despite relatively generous provisions, and many smaller firms have not been inclined to innovate. More effective public support for business R&D and stronger research-business collaboration on innovation are important. There is also a need to promote digital uptake, especially among smaller firms that lag behind. Improving access to equity finance for young innovative firms, reducing remaining gaps in digital infrastructure, along with better information on digital tools and how to use them, can help smaller firms digitalise. The public sector too has to become more digitalised. Addressing weaknesses in foundational skills through education reforms and responding more effectively to labour market needs for digital skills would enable a wider adoption of advanced technologies and higher productivity growth, while ensuring that the digitalisation dividends are distributed fairly. Increased participation in adult learning, especially among the less educated, is the way forward to adapt to increased job automation in the digital era.

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