Davos, Switzerland, 24 January 2019 – Yesterday, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Ratas spoke of Estonian experiences with the e-state and the use of digital identity. He also spoke of ways how the public sector can set an example to inspire innovation and the implementation of new technologies, which would strengthen European competitiveness.
According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, digital identity is a pillar of digital economy. “E-services require a trustworthy and safe way to identify users. Estonia has built the digital society and e-services to simplify the everyday lives of our citizens for 20 years. In addition to signing documents, we use digital identity to file income tax returns, vote digitally, run everyday banking, and purchase medication,” the prime minister said, adding that a trustworthy digital identity has facilitated Estonian innovation and entrepreneurship.
Ratas also spoke of e-residency that has enabled entrepreneurs worldwide to use the e-services offered by the state and Estonian enterprises. The prime minister noted that the number of e-residents is swiftly growing and already contains 50,000 people in 168 countries.
As for the possibilities to advance innovation in Europe as well as the whole world, Ratas sees several options. “Everything begins with providing high-quality education,” the prime minister said. He believes that the government must ensure an entrepreneurial environment that encourages innovation. “The legislation must keep up with the rapid technological development, whether this means self-driving cars or artificial intelligence,” Ratas said.
According to Prime Minister Ratas, the digital success stories of Estonia as well as other countries should be more widely reflected in Europe, which would help to develop the European single market and strengthen the competitiveness of the region. “In the face of rapid technological changes, we must rely on our strong suits – common values and cross-border cooperation. A more effective European single digital market requires a strong digital identity, fighting solidarily with cyber threats, and, of course, supporting the free cross-border movement of data,” Ratas said.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Ratas participated in a World Economic Forum media event that focused on European innovation. He also gave a presentation on digital identity at the McKinsey Global Institute and the World Economic Forum press conference. The McKinsey Global Institute introduced their fresh report “Digital identification: a key to inclusive growth”.
Advancing cooperation on information technology and sharing the experiences of the Estonian e-state were also discussed when prime minister Ratas met privately with Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Iván Duque Marquez, the President of Colombia, and Mario Abdo Benítez, the President of Paraguay. Ratas discussed possibilities to intensify cooperation with Apple, Uber Technologies, Booking.com, the leaders of Ericsson, and the head of the World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity.
The World Economic Forum is an international institution for public-private cooperation, committed to creating a better future and focused on enhancing innovative technologies and their implementation. Estonia has participated at the World Economic Forum since 2016.
Photos (Government Communication Unit): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yei0g30r269ayvh/AAAYB2nS3leNqzKKLsvnlPJ4a?dl=0