Future Greenland 2021
Katuaq, Nuuk, 18-19 May
A new growth agenda:
What will it take – from visions to action?
Future Greenland 2021
“Future Greenland 2021” is the seventh in the series of Future Greenland conferences that the Greenland Business Association holds every second year in the beautiful Katuaq cultural centre in Nuuk.
It is Greenland’s biggest business conference, which in 2019 once again drew a full house with more than 400 participants in enthusiastic debates and workshops, under the conference title “Economic independence and political autonomy. What will it take?”
“Future Greenland” attracts a very broad circle of people interested in social issues, companies, politicians from the parliament and the municipalities, public servants, students and many more, as well as participants from Canada, the USA, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scandinavia and elsewhere.
The conference enjoys great media attention, and can be followed live on the Net, with online streaming from the debates and side events. In this way, the Greenland Business Association wishes to signal that the conference is open to all stakeholders and decision-makers who are willing to participate in a committed and inspiring debate on the goals and directions for Greenland’s development.
On 17 May 2021, the Greenland Business Association is also hosting a B-2-B event at the Hotel Hans Egede, where all interested companies are invited to participate and forge links with relevant networks.
The final programme for the conference and B-2-B event will be announced on 16 November 2020 at www.futuregreenland.gl. Here you will also find documentation from previous conferences and B-2-B events, as well as practical information.
Registration will open on the same day as the programmes are published, but mark the dates now in your calendar for the B-2-B event on 17 May and the Future Greenland conference on 18-19 May 2021. The Greenland Business Association will provide ongoing information on the conference’s themes and speakers.
A new growth agenda: What will it take – from visions to action?
With this big question as the headline for the 2021 conference, the Greenland Business Association wishes participants to come up with proposals that are as concrete as possible concerning what the political decision-makers and the business community must do together here and now in order to achieve concrete, measurable results: More enterprising companies, a growing private business sector and, in particular, the emergence of new companies in the tourism and mineral resources sectors.
Hopefully we now have the worst of the corona crisis behind us, and with it another example of just how vulnerable Greenland’s economy is, with its almost exclusive dependence on fishery. The conference will be forward-looking and focus on the completely new opportunities ahead, where, for example, new airports will open Greenland up even more to the world around us. It’s a question of creating new interest in investments, not only in existing business areas, but also in tourism and mineral resources: What are the strategies, the goals and, not least, the action plans?
The path towards these goals is, on the one hand, to secure good, stable and transparent political frameworks that will make it attractive to invest in Greenland. Investors must have confidence in Greenland. In addition, it is a question of establishing more up-to-date business and tax legislation, a well-functioning education system, etc.
On the other hand, in return for these good conditions, the investors and companies must make investments in new business activities that will make society less financially vulnerable and create more jobs and greater tax revenues, so that we can pay for the level of public service we desire.
Through the following overall themes, the conference will seek to answer the question of what it will take to turn a new growth agenda into reality:
Constitution – Commonwealth – Security: Influence on the commercial possibilities
A major theme at the Future Greenland conference in 2019 was concerned with our international partners in North America and the EU in the light of a new security policy agenda. With reference to the work of Greenland’s Constitutional Commission and the general security policy development in the Arctic, the 2021 conference will take a closer look at how this affects the relationship between Greenland and Denmark in the Danish Commonwealth. Since the conference in May 2019, Greenland has been on the front pages of the global media: How does this renewed interest in Greenland affect how investors see Greenland? Can we imagine scenarios with multiple business opportunities or constraints?
How can new airports become new business opportunities within, for example, tourism and mineral resources?
Greenland’s biggest ever construction project, costing DKK 3.2 billion, was initiated in 2019 with a financial helping hand from the Danish state, and in 2023 two new international airports will open in Nuuk and Ilulissat. That time will arrive quickly, so the big question will be who does what to ensure that we are ready to take advantage of this significant infrastructure improvement to realise the plans for, for example, greater tourism and more mineral extraction.
Accordingly, key questions at the conference will be: Who has investment plans or is in the process of investing? What are the expectations towards the new possibilities that the new infrastructure will create? And how can the government of Greenland, together with the national parliament, make it attractive to invest in new industries? Do we have an entrepreneurial environment that can see new opportunities and dare to invest in them? Are our legislative and investment conditions up to date and competitive with those of other countries? What potentials and concerns do investors express when they consider choosing Greenland rather than other countries?
Labour – Education – Youth
The greatest challenge right now for companies is the growing labour shortage. The public sector, which already employs 40% of the workforce, is continuing to expand and increase its competition with the private sector for skilled labour.
If the vision of a stronger and less vulnerable economy is to become a reality, it will require a significantly larger private sector with more companies in new business sectors. That vision will remain an illusion if the necessary labour and skills are absent, and if the public sector continues to grow without the necessary reforms.
The Greenland Business Association is here and now arguing for more lenient conditions for recruiting labour both inside and outside the EU – otherwise the process will come to a standstill. But this is not enough: The only sustainable solution is for a much larger proportion of the local workforce to acquire the necessary qualifications through education. Otherwise, the population will be mere spectators to the development.
That is why the Greenland Business Association, together with the school teachers’ organisation IMAK, is campaigning under the heading “Education is Greenland’s most important resource” for better primary schooling, which is the essential precondition for being able to enter qualifying vocational education.
Consequently, the Future Greenland conference in 2021 will once again have schools, education and labour recruitment high on the agenda. Business development is not possible without a sufficiently skilled workforce. How do we realise the enormous potential of a better-trained workforce? And how do we improve the quality and output of the education system as a whole?
What do we hope to achieve with this conference?
The Greenland Business Association wishes to anchor the social debate on the development of Greenland more firmly in a common recognition of the fact that we cannot create the necessary economic growth without a healthy business community, more private companies and greater exports. This debate requires the broad involvement of many organisations and players in society.
A growth agenda demands political reforms that will create a favourable business climate. If we fail in this, we will be unable to pay for the many and growing demands of citizens upon the welfare state, and Greenland’s political freedom of action will be impeded. The Greenland Business Association is working to create a better space for business policy in the political debate, in which “welfare policy” and the population’s desire for more and better services from the public sector often dominate at the expense of a discussion about where the money is going to come from.
Without the right political framework conditions, we cannot nurture entrepreneurship and the desire to invest. Furthermore, solid partnerships and co-operation between Greenlandic and foreign companies must ensure access to the skills and competencies that cannot be sourced locally. This view of the world is also an important aim of the conference, and so once again in 2021, the Greenland Business Association is inviting several players to attend who can see the mutual benefits of closer co-operation with Greenland – both politically and commercially.
Contents of the conference
Day 1, Tuesday 18 May, will kick off with the themes Constitution – Commonwealth – Security: Influence on the commercial possibilities, and How can new airports become new business opportunities within, inter alia, tourism and mineral resources?
Day 2, Wednesday 19 May, will continue with How can new airports become new business opportunities within, inter alia, tourism and mineral resources? and will conclude with the pivot of the labour market policy challenge: Labour – Education – Youth
On the basis of a number of plenary presentations, four side events will be organised on each conference day, at which conference participants will have an opportunity to go into depth with several of the issues raised.
The Greenland Business Association will be inviting a number of exciting speakers for both the plenary and side events. These will be presented in more detail in connection with the programme planning.
The format for the two days of the conference will be plenary presentations and debates in the hall and panels, plus approximately eight side events in the afternoons, as in 2019. The conference presentations will be held in Greenlandic, Danish and English, with simultaneous interpretation.
The comperes Martin Breum and Ulla Lynge will steer the conference proceedings from the stage.