The Czech Republic is too small to manage the development of the knowledge economy by itself, and its building with the help of foreigners could also help create the inhabitants' inter-cultural understanding, Krystof Krulis writes in weekly Respekt out yesterday.
Krulis, analyst of the Czech Association for International Affairs (AMO), writes that the development of the knowledge economy, based on the work of high-level qualified specialists, is a precondition for the growth of salaries and competitiveness.
This, in its turn, requires modernisation of the Czech education system, a quality infrastructure and also the supply of highly specialised staff, which a country with ten million inhabitants cannot secure, Krulis writes.
The development of the knowledge economy also strongly depends on the arrival of specialists from abroad. To attract them, the country must offer certain advantages, Krulis writes.
He writes that one of them are relatively low living costs, which Prague can offer. Luxury housing in its centre still amounts to one third of the rents in nearby Munich, for instance.
However, the Czech Republic must catch up with Western centres of the knowledge economy in terms of quality of life, including the environment, transport availability and opportunities for leisure activities, Krulis writes.
He writes that it is also important to pull down language barriers, with English playing the key role not only at work, but also in everyday life and in culture.
To secure a blanket knowledge of English in the Czech Republic is beyond reality, but big progress might be attained in Prague and other large towns, Krulis writes.
Prague’s advantage is the concentration of tourism thanks to which many services are available in English already now and the city’s cosmopolitan character and its popularity abroad are also an advantage.
Unlike the capitals of all neighbouring countries, the Czech capital is practically situated in the central part of the country which can profit from the city’s economic development, Krulis writes.
He writes that the recently created research centres financed by the EU prove Prague’s viability as a place of attraction for foreign specialists.
However, with regard to the conditions of financing, they could not be placed on the territory of Prague and a substantial part of them now have problems with financing and a lack of researchers, Krulis writes.
On the other hand, the ELI laser centre in Dolni Brezany, situated immediately outside the Prague border, does not have any problem attracting specialists from western countries, Krulis writes.
He writes that thanks to tourism, Prague is often more known abroad than the whole Czech Republic and the “developed and designed in Prague” brand could open the doors to the markets in remote parts of the world.
This is true of South America, the South African Republic and southeastern Asia, where only a small amount of Czech exports are heading, Krulis writes.
He writes that the greater participation of high-income specialists in the Czech economy could also contribute to improving the image of foreigners from other cultures in this country and naturally strengthen inter-cultural understanding, Krulis writes.
He writes that this ability of the population is not created overnight. It requires a lot of work and positive examples. The building of the knowledge economy could push the country forward not only from the point of view of growth of the national economy, Krulis writes.