Estonia’s former Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas visited LATTICE80 today to discuss digital society.
Rõivas was the former leader of the Reform Party and former Prime Minister of Estonia. Before his term as the Prime Minister, he was the Minister of Social Affairs from 2012 to 2014.
At the time Rõivas became Prime Minister, he was the youngest government leader in European at the age of just 32.
Rõivas has been a strong proponent of technology as an engine for economic growth and government efficiency.
A digital society
Estonia is known to be a leading digital society.
In 2000, the Estonian government created a law that made the internet access (Wi-Fi) a basic human right in the country.
The country’s Wi-Fi is one of the fastest in the world, and it was the first country to permit online voting in elections.
Rõivas highlighted Estonia’s e-Residency initiative, a new government-issued digital ID available to anyone in the world.
Estonia’s e-Residency, the first in the world, offers the freedom to easily start and run a global business in a trusted EU environment.
It allows users to streamline key business processes via an Internet connection. These include the ability to:
- Register an EU based company entirely online;
- Access business banking and online payment providers to accept payments from customers and clients worldwide;
- Digitally sign contracts and other documents.
Tim Draper, Founding Partner of Draper Associates and DFJ, backed Skype in its early days. (Skype was started by Estonian entrepreneurs.)
Draper has said of the country’s aggressive technology adoption:
“The Estonian government has shown great forethought in creating the first virtual government, allowing all citizens of the world participate in the growth and business of Estonia.
“As we become more mobile and able to communicate across borders freely, geographic borders dissolve allowing us all to choose which government is right for us.
“Governments need to compete for the great minds, the capital, the businesses, and the citizens of the world.”
Rõivas’s talk at LATTICE80 was eagerly attended entrepreneurs, technologists and business leaders.
His hope was for governments of countries like Estonia and Singapore to adopt each other’s best practices on the road to digital society.