Central and Eastern Europe needs a new engine for growth

Creating a digital, tech-driven economy could be the growth engine that ten economies in the region need.

For the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the potential economic benefits of digitization are great: up to €200 billion in additional GDP by 2025. Such an economic boost would lead to greater global competitiveness and prosperity for the region’s 100 million people. While the digital transition also harbors potential risks in the form of shifts in society, public- and private-sector leaders can take effective actions to mitigate them while pursuing the digital opportunity.

Since the transition to a market economy almost three decades ago, CEE has enjoyed a golden age of growth. The ten CEE countries examined in this report—Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia—recorded on average a 114 percent increase in GDP per capita between 1996 and 2017, compared with an increase of just 27 percent in the European Union’s “Big Five” economies: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The CEE region has become one of the most attractive places to invest in globally. This has enabled CEE countries to partially close the economic gap with Western Europe and their populations to enjoy a significant rise in living standards.

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