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How Estonia Built the Most Advanced Digital Government in the World

The compelling story of the global success of Estonia as a digital nation leader, boasting the most advanced digital government in the world.

The feature video shares a short case study of E-Estonia from Freethink, interviewing Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia from 2006 – 2016.

It tells the compelling story of the global success of Estonia as a digital nation leader, boasting the most advanced digital government in the world.

Ilves recalls how Estonia faced massive economic challenges upon achieving the restoration of independence in 1991, a time that soon saw the emergence of the Internet.

Toomas realized the opportunity was that Estonia was no further behind than any other country in this field, and so began pioneering their adoption, with all schools being online by 1998 and the framework for E-Estonia in place by the early 2000’s.

Fast forward to today and Estonia now enjoys an entirely digital society – Via a single digital identity everything except weddings and real estate can be transacted online, including voting.

Not only is it a convenience but it’s also the foundation for a prosperous and healthy society. Being entirely digital has meant Estonia has continued uninterrupted during Covid-19, and their ‘E-Residency’ program has contributed €14m to its economy.

A keynote theme is that size and money isn’t the essential ingredient for success.

Toomas now lives in the heart of Silicon Valley in the USA, and despite their vast wealth and being surrounded by the behemoth tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook, American digital government is surprisingly poor. Processes are still paper-based, requiring photocopies be taken to government offices, whereas Estonians can file taxes in only six clicks in two or three minutes.

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