We caught up with the EIB’s Harald Gruber ahead of our upcoming event Connected Germany, which is being held in Mainz on April 5-6 2022
Can you introduce yourself and your role?
I am head of the Digital Infrastructure Division at the Projects Directorate of the European Investment Bank based in Luxembourg. I oversee a team of sector experts involved in sector and technology analysis as well as project appraisal. I also works on the Bank’s business strategy with respect to financing of digital infrastructure, semiconductors, space, industrial policy and the economics of digital transformation in general. I have also contributed in defining new financial instruments for digital infrastructure and services jointly with European Commission, national promotional banks and private sector.
You work across the European Union – how does Germany’s investment landscape differ?
Germany is Europe’s largest economy with knowingly many areas of excellence in various sectors of economic activity. As a result on many indicators of performance Germany is in a leading position in Europe, and not only. This has also been achieved by continuous investment in R&D, skills and of course in physical assets. Where Germany is underperforming compared to peers is in digital infrastructure with the result of hindering certain patterns of specialisation and technology adoption in the digital domain which are becoming fundamental for the economy. There is need to catch up in order to be able to fully embrace the trend of digital transformation of all economic activities.
What do you expect to be the biggest developments in investment over the next year or so?
The bulk of investment will still be in the build out of very high capacity digital infrastructure, in particular in areas of low population density and where unit costs are considerably higher. Moreover, there is still large investment need in data security and secure data centres.
What are you most looking forward to at Connected Germany?
The first significant life sector convention in Germany after two years of unwelcome social distancing. Though digital meetings have a large number of benefits, meeting and talking to real people opens up completely different domains of developing and sharing innovative ideas. I am looking forward to meet and discuss with interesting people with innovative ideas.
The rapidly evolving digital infrastructure landscape is a key topic at this year’s Connected Germany. You can hear from Harald and the rest of our amazing speaker line-up by following the event link and registering your place in Mainz this April.