Information and communications technology (ICT) has become the main tool for increasing competitiveness in every field of the economy. The uptake of ICT enables companies to both optimise the current business processes as well as to develop entirely new and innovative products and services. Estonia’s progress has additionally been driven by promoting the free and open internet at both national and international levels. According to reports issued by Freedom House26, Estonia is at the forefront of the freedom and openness of the internet: in 2010–2012 Estonia ranked first in terms of internet freedom and in 2013 the country came second after (new entrant) Iceland.
Estonia is valued as a global champion of digital living, standing to make sure that the three important pillars of information society – free movement of information, security and privacy – are all concurrently ensured.
Widespread use of ICT in the majority of industries has raised the productivity of Estonian enterprises to the target level set out in the Estonian competitiveness strategy, i.e. at least 80% of the EU average. Productivity has increased as a result of using ICT for the development of smarter (i.e. with higher added value) products and services. In addition, application of ICT for reengineering and increasing the efficiency of business processes has contributed to the growth. Increase in productivity is particularly evident in manufacturing, energy and health care.
ICT products and services constitute 20% of total exports. The ICT sector has become a leading industry in Estonia, significantly contributing to the growth of productivity.
Estonia has become the place to be for developing, testing and bringing to market innovative digital solutions. International development centres, foreign start-up companies, professionals and researchers from all over the world come to Estonia to create new smart solutions in the fields of health care, industry, energy, education, etc.
Estonia is the first country in the world to offer virtual residence to those who want to use our e-services and possibilities of secure data exchange. With its e-services, Estonia has become as re-known in the world as Switzerland is in the field of banking.