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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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