What made Estonia the most digitalized country in the world?
Estonia is the most digitalized state on the planet. It was the first country to facilitate elections through the internet and to allow e-census. Today, the country is offering digital citizenship to foreigners.
Estonians are living in what many countries are calling “future’. Many of them do not know what polling stations are since they do not go there to vote. These people do not have to step out of their houses in order to abide by the laws of their country. They can enjoy many civil, political and social rights without leaving their computers.
Estonia is a small European country that has approximately 1.3 million people. Though the county is small, it is ahead of many states that spend thousands of millions to digitalize their services. According the World Bank report, Estonia is far ahead of its neighbors — Lithuania, Russia, Latvia. But how did Estonia achieve this greatness?
The Estonian government decided that using the digital technology and the internet could help to reduce costs. Therefore, every year the country uses at least $60 million to create the information society. Though many governments like U.S, UK and Russian have been using a lot of money on information, almost nothing is improved, and even some money disappear to “virtual space”.
The secret of Estonia is smart investment; where the state creates new websites for new state structures. In addition, the country has many young politicians who are very receptive to new trends and ideas. For instance, Taavi Kotka, Estonian’s IT-minister is 36 years old. In contrary, in some countries, the ministers who oversee the development of information technology are always old and conservative. And what do you expect in such circumstances? The states hardly become digitalized.
If you want to create a successful e-government, every citizen must have a personal code. To achieve this goal, Estonia has a universal ID-card. The cards can be used in almost 2000 government services such as login back systems, hospitals and government organizations.
Support of t local IT-companies
Estonia rarely license IT-companies. The state functions utilize digital products of local startups. Since the Estonia government invests and encourages local startups, the e-service level in the country is higher compared to other countries.
According to Oleg Shvaykovsky, a member of the board of directors of Nortal, Estonia electronic services is highly developed. He added the Estonia websites offer “contextual services”, meaning that users are offered different services according to their personal data.
Education in digital literacy
The government of Estonia is always dedicated to see that its people are using electronic services. Computer literacy is promoted in the country and every school has access to internet.
A service known as e-Kool helps children to familiarize themselves with electronic services. The government has not forgotten the older generation. In 2009, the government launched a program known as Ole kaasas to assist elderly people to get used to electronic services.
The above principles have been used by Estonian government to make life easier for its citizens. Which principle does your government use to adjust life in the digital age?