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An advanced digital society of the world

Filed on March 22, 2020

Estonia is located on the easter coast of the Baltic Sea in northern Europe

In Estonia, people trust and use e-solutions, since they are fast, safe and convenient

Tallinn is the capital city, set in north-western Estonia

Tartu is the cultural capital of Europe for 2024

Narva is the country’s third largest city

While in terms of population size and geographic characteristics Estonia may indeed seem to be a compact country, in the digital realm this northern European nation ranks as one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world. Rapid economic development in the last few decades has helped this Baltic Sea country evolve into a tech giant and a reliable trading partner

Estonia's unique geopolitical location allows it to act as a gateway for accessing a far greater marketplace, reaching from Scandinavia to Russia and Ukraine. Estonia combines elements of both, the old and new economy. While the success of the technology sector has made the start-up scene blossom, the country is also moving up in the value chain in more traditional sectors such as forestry and oil shale. Export of Estonian products and services forms over 77 per cent of the country's GDP, with electric machinery and equipment, wood and wood products, and mineral products featuring as the main articles for export.

What makes Estonia stand out as the most advanced digital society in the world is the fact that 99 per cent of state services are available online, and it is the first country to introduce a cross-border digital identity known as e-residency. Through this, Estonia is offering trusted digital identities to foreign nationals to allow them to benefit from Estonia's excellent business environment, with zero per cent income tax on retained or reinvested profits, skilled workforce, and the world's most innovative e-services.

Estonia is a politically stable country with low corruption and government debt, highly developed cyber security and an efficient public sector. Estonia consistently ranks as a global leader in indices for human capital, digital capability and ease of conducting business. This fosters a competitive environment, where solutions and services can be researched, developed and delivered globally. From multinationals to rapid growth start-ups, Estonia has a two-decade track record of successful investments and innovation, while also holding the world record for most unicorns per capita.

The Dubai Expo 2020 will offer unique opportunities for connecting Estonian entrepreneurs with global partners. Estonia's focus at the world exhibition will be on digital society issues, innovating smart solutions, sustainability, and the green economy. Estonia is looking forward to strengthening the relationship between the two countries and having a long-term cooperation with the UAE.

Enterprise Estonia already has a representative office in Dubai and acts as a link between Estonian exporters and potential export markets, with special development and growth programmes already in place for the UAE in 2020, providing up-to-date market analysis and establishing contacts with local business partners. It has never been easier to discover Estonia - a northern European hub for global business services.

About Estonia

. Estonia is located on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea in northern Europe
. The territory of Estonia consists of the mainland and of 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227km, and influenced by a humid continental climate
. Estonia is just one hour flight or ferry away from Helsinki
. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the second-most-spoken Finnic language
. With a population of 1.3 million, Estonia is one of the least populous countries in the European Union
. Estonia is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy that has been among the fastest-growing in the EU
. The country ranks very high in the Human Development Index and compares well in measures of economic freedom, civil liberties, education and press freedom.
. Estonian citizens receive universal health care, free education and the longest paid maternity leave in the OECD
. In 2007, Estonia joined the Schengen Area, and in 2011 the Eurozone
. The European Union Agency for large-scale IT systems is based in Tallinn, which started operations at the end of 2012
. Estonia held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2017
. The GDP (PPP) per capita of the country was $29,312 in 2016 according to the International Monetary Fund
. According to Eurostat, Estonia had the lowest ratio of government debt to GDP among EU countries at 8.4 per cent at the end of 2018

More interesting facts about Estonia's digital society

. Every Estonian resident has an electronic ID
. Personal data can be accessed, signed and managed, from banking to digital prescriptions, with an ID-card, mobile ID or smart ID
. The electronic ID is also issued to Estonian e-Residents (over 50,000 today)
. At least 2% of GDP-worthy time is saved due to digital signatures
. Ninety-nine per cent of Estonian public services are online and accessible 24/7. Only marriages, divorces and real-estate transactions are not possible online
. Most public services work via the 'X-Road' data exchange platform that saves over 1,400 years of working time annually for the Estonian population altogether
. People trust and use e-solutions, since they are fast, safe and convenient
. They have utilised blockchain-backed integrity throughout the government infrastructure and registries since 2012
. Almost all public e-solutions in Estonia are created by Estonian companies and state institutions

Trust factor:
. More than 700 million digital signatures have been provided in Estonia, which is more than in the entire European Union
. Over 46.7 per cent of Estonian voters from 110 countries used e-voting in European Parliament elections in 2019
. Estonia sees the natural next step in the evolution of the e-state as moving basic services into a digital mode. This means that things can be done for citizens automatically and in that sense, invisibly

Tallinn - the capital city set in north-western Estonia

The largest lake in Tallinn is Lake Ülemiste (9.44 sq km). It is the main source of the city's drinking water. Lake Harku is the second largest lake within the borders of Tallinn and its area is 1.6 sq km. Tallinn does not lie on a major river. The only significant river in Tallinn is Pirita River in Pirita, a city district counted as a suburb. It has a population of 434,562. Administratively part of Harju maakond (county), Tallinn is the main financial, industrial, cultural, educational and research centre of Estonia. The capital is located 80km south of Helsinki, Finland, 320km west of Saint Petersburg, Russia, 300km north of Riga, Latvia, and 380km east of Stockholm, Sweden. It has close historical ties with these four cities.

Tartu - the cultural capital of Europe for 2024

Tartu is often considered the intellectual centre of the country, especially since it is home to the nation's oldest and most renowned university, the University of Tartu. The city also houses the Supreme Court of Estonia, the Ministry of Education and Research, and the new building of the Estonian National Museum, opened to the public in October 2016. It is also the birthplace of Estonian Song Festivals and designated as the cultural capital of Europe for 2024.

Narva - the country's third largest city

Located in Ida-Viru County at the eastern extreme point of Estonia along the Russian border on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus, Narva is the country's third largest city.

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