Exporting Estonia: Smart economy for smarter people
Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia, aims for mutual interest and trust with the UAE as the country diversifies its economic ventures
The UAE and Estonia established diplomatic relations 14 years ago. In the last two years, we have seen the rapid development of fruitful cooperation between our countries, including opening the Estonian Embassy in Abu Dhabi in June 2019; the visit of Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, accompanied by a business delegation in September 2019; the creation of the Estonian-UAE group in our Parliament. In February last year, I had the honour to inaugurate the Enterprise Estonia office in Dubai, and this year, our Embassy premises will be inaugurated, which allows us to facilitate contacts between people and enterprises even better.
Today, Estonia is widely recognised as one of the digital frontrunners in the world, also known as e-Estonia and an Education Nation. This success stands on three important pillars - smart people building a smart state with a smart economy. Our 15-year-olds have reached the top in Europe and are among the few leaders in the world of the OECD's 2018 Pisa Survey. Moreover, adult skills enable us to demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset and the ability to bring value to our economies, and improve the life quality with technology, whether it concerns smart governance, personalised medicine or making urban life more convenient.
During my visit last year to the UAE, we agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in the IT field, where Estonia is happy to share its e-governance experience. Estonia has adopted a business-friendly regulatory framework and is a pioneer in digitalising government services. Information and communication, and scientific and technical activities experienced the fastest growth in value added in a decade. Only in 2019, the value added increased over a quarter in ICT.
Estonia is an open economy that continues to grow and expand against a difficult global backdrop. We have always recognised foreign direct investments as a powerful engine for economic growth. The gross domestic product of Estonia increased by 4.8 per cent in 2018 and by 4.3 per cent last year. Our export performance has been stable and exporting companies have stayed profitable by increasing volumes and improving non-cost competitiveness. Estonia has notably gained market share in exports of services of high quality, complexity and value.
During my upcoming visit, I will be accompanied by a business delegation, and our companies will take part in Expo 2020 Dubai. It is time for our mutual interest and trust to grow into partnership and investments.
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