Innovation shapes the future – the theme of 2024 for the AHK Romania community
The key word that will guide the way to business of the Romanian-German business community in the year that has just begun will be innovation. “In 2024 we will write a new chapter: Innovation drives the future.”
Innovation plays an essential role in the present, but especially in the future, and we are happy to walk together on this path, with confidence, optimism and courage”, said Andreas Lier, president of the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Thursday, in the opening New Year’s reception. On this occasion, the Romanian-German Economy Awards, AHK Awards, in their second edition, were awarded.
The winners are the companies Bosch Group Romania, Siemens SRL, Knauf Insulation & Knauf Gips Romania and Salubris.
The Bosch Group won with the “Education Initiatives” project in the “Our Employees, Our Success” category. The company has run a series of educational activities and programs, involving both students and academia, in order to prepare young people for the demands of the labor market in general, but also to work in Bosch production facilities.
Siemens SRL ranked first in the category “Innovation and new technologies” with the project “Innovative and fully digitized Siemens solutions for the water treatment industry in Romania”. Siemens technology is flexible, modular and extensible, reduces water loss in the distribution system, has low energy consumption and is cyber-secure.
In the “Business Excellence” category, the company Knauf Insulation & Knauf Gips Romania was named the winner, with the project “Knauf invests 200 million euros in two factories in Romania”. Starting from March 2022, Knauf started the modernization of the production line for mineral glass wool in Târnăveni, and from January 2023, the construction of a new insulating materials factory in Huedin. The investment emphasizes innovation, technological integration and compliance with high standards of energy efficiency and environmental impact.
The prize in the category “Responsibility for the future” went to the company Salubris and its project “Sustainable development of waste management in the context of the circular economy in the city of Iași”. The solution proposed by Salubris is an integrated waste collection system, which involves the development of a separate collection infrastructure, including modern and digital collection points, waste transport, street sanitation infrastructure, as well as air quality maintenance.
The active involvement of companies in the development of technologies and skills, especially for the young generation, was also noted by the President of Romania, Klaus Werner Iohannis, who sent a message of support to the business community, through the presidential advisor Cosmin Marinescu.
This year’s AHK Romania motto, “Innovation drives the future”, is considered “an inspired choice, which reflects the expectations we all have from 2024 and beyond”.
The President also appreciated the activity of Romanian and German companies, which, for over 20 years, have actively contributed to the consolidation of Romania as an attractive investment destination, to the transfer of know-how and technology, by building partnerships for a sustainable economy.
“Germany is the main commercial partner of our country, with a share of over 20% in Romania’s foreign trade. At the same time, Germany is also at the top of the ranking of foreign investors, with over 25 thousand registered companies and about 15% of the total foreign direct investments in Romania”, added Klaus Iohannis in his message.
He also mentioned the aspects in the economy that should be addressed as a priority, such as structural imbalances, strengthening administrative capacity and digitizing the tax administration. However, the instruments of Romania’s modernization and development remain investments and European funds, explained the head of state.
In the tense international context, marked by open conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, the ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Romania, HE Dr. Peer Gebauer, looks towards the year 2024 with cautious optimism. Among the current challenges, he cited still high energy prices, inflationary pressures, disrupted supply chains, efforts to curb global warming and, in general, a great potential for frustration in society, also fueled by fake news. However, he pointed out that in terms of innovation, competitiveness and ecological transition of our economies, there have been many important decisions, but also many encouraging developments.
“The basis of our power remains the economy. Romanian-German relations are closer and more reliable as they have probably never been. We will commit ourselves this year to their further consolidation and deepening. Our even closer cooperation will be the key to keep us performing and resilient in the future as well,” said Dr. Gebauer.
The Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, Ștefan Radu Oprea, also showed moderate optimism regarding Romania’s economic growth in the coming years.
“Economists have been telling us lately that we will have the most robust economic growth in the region, and probably in the European Union, of more than 3% in the coming years. I believe that every country has a moment and that now is Romania’s moment, because this time the geography is favorable for us”, said the Minister of Economy.
He invited the representatives of the companies present at the New Year’s Reception of AHK Romania to be optimistic, to contribute to economic growth and to use the state aid made available to companies by the Ministry of Economy, in the field of construction and the manufacturing industry. In conclusion, he wished the businessmen to have as much profit as possible, conveying at the same time that Romania needs innovation, intellectual property registered here, added value brought to Romanian products and competitiveness.
The New Year’s Reception, an event that AHK Romania organizes annually at the Palace of Parliament, is a landmark in the Chamber’s activity and brings together, for networking purposes, numerous guests from businessmen, public administration, professional associations, civil society, as well as from the political, diplomatic, academic and media environments. This year the number of participants exceeded 900