Distinguished shareholders, esteemed business partners, dear colleagues,
As Kibar Group, we have witnessed political, economic, cultural, and perhaps most importantly, technological transformations in our long history. We have always made agile and quick decisions in the face of technological advances, the emergence of new concepts in line with these advances, and changes in priorities and ways of working. We have increased our strength in production with the practices we implemented in line with our aim of becoming a company that does not adapt to change but leads it. Today, leading change and keeping pace with the future are among our main efforts.
Our responsibilities towards our nearly 7,500 colleagues, our valued shareholders, our business partners in different countries, and our local stakeholders always encourage us to adopt a visionary approach. While digitalization in production and management processes is becoming increasingly important, we discuss topics such as innovation; artificial intelligence applications enabling us to address the demands and expectations of customers in the quickest and most effective way; and production lines where robots and humans work side by side. In this context, we integrate the latest technologies into our production lines in all our group companies, implement the innovative systems we develop as a result of our R&D activities, and aim to preserve natural resources both in our production processes and with our final product by focusing on issues such as energy efficiency and water efficiency. We continue to carry out our operations in line with our sustainability principles by considering our responsibilities towards our world, adopting production methods that respect ecosystems, and creating value for the environment. All aspects of sustainability will continue to be high on our agenda in the near future.
After 2019, which saw serious fluctuations caused by trade wars, Brexit, and cyclical political movements, economic indicators for 2020 were positive. Positive developments such as the disinflation in Turkey, the targets of the New Economic Program indicating a transition from balance to growth, and the first annual current account surplus for 17 years supported the views that the national economy would grow in 2020. However, 2020 has been a difficult year for the whole world. COVID-19, which spread rapidly from China to the whole world in January, changed all predictions and plans radically. The pandemic affected all industries, especially automotive and tourism. There have been serious problems with global supply chains, and workflows could not be completed properly due to logistical slowdowns. Although we will be able to analyze the impact of the pandemic on the economy more clearly in 2021, the current economic outlook seems to prove that globalization started to lose its significance. Considering that this situation may constitute a new potential for Turkey, which has advantages such as its young population, qualified workforce, advanced technology, R&D infrastructure, and strategic geographical location, we will increase our efforts to make our country a regional alternative in the global supply chain. There is nothing to prevent us from becoming an alternative supplier to China in the automotive industry, which is both one of the industries that create the most jobs and highest added value in the country and one of the critical industries for the global economy.
As Kibar Group, we continue to grow steadily. In 2021, we will increase our contribution to the national economy by focusing on production and exports. We will make the investments we planned and expand our efforts to strengthen our global presence. As one of Turkey’s leading industrial enterprises, we will continue to fulfill our responsibility to provide benefits to our world, our country, our employees, and our stakeholders and use technology for this purpose.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our valued customers, suppliers, business partners, executives, colleagues, and all our stakeholders who support us. I believe that we will continue to achieve great success together in the future.