Germany’s most important computer trade fair, "Systems," kicked off in Munich on Monday on an upbeat note. After struggling through lean years in the post-new economy boom and bust, Germany’s IT sector now stands on the verge of a slight improvement, according to the federal association for information technology, telecommunication and new media, BITKOM. The head of the sector’s largest umbrella organization, Bernard Rohleder, told reporters at the fair’s opening that after "enduring three years of bad weather" in which industry growth dropped to a negative 2.7 percent, this year’s zero percent growth shows a break in the downwards trend. "Next year we can expect growth of about 2 percent," he said. Although still miles from the two-digit growth rates of the late 90’s, the optimistic forecast was greeted with relief from the some 1,300 presenters gathered in Bavaria’s capital. But the prognosis also came with a warning attached: Unless Germany does more to improve its position in the development of technological innovation, the IT sector will never fully recover and Germany will lose out in global competition. The key to innovation is a modern education system that addresses the demands of a rapidly changing society, BITKOM said.