Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Estonia’s E-stonishments

A country with a population just a big larger than New Zealand’s South Island and a size less than three times that is one of the world’s most digitally advanced societies.


The immediate past Prime Minister of Estonia, and current parliamentary Vice President Taavi Roivas, presented this week on some of the progress E-Estonia has made.


This remote, small country in Northern Europe became, in 2005, the first nation to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014 the first nation to provide E-residency. Their technological development is credited as one of the reasons they lead the OECD in PISA educational attainment levels.


In 1991 when they achieved final independence from the Soviet Union, less than half the population had a phone line. They now state they save 800 years annually with the benefits of the digital exchange they have developed.


Although some will say their small size made these developments easier, lack of scale presents funding and market attraction challenges. Which they have overcome.

Estonia is a useful model for another small, far away country.

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