This week, Net Group together with other Estonian ICT entrepreneurs are visiting Rwanda and Uganda. Our aim is to introduce e-Estonia solutions to local businessmen and officials in order to develop the cooperation with African countries. The business delegation includes 16 people from seven Estonian ICT companies.
During the visit, the delegation will attend the Transform Africa Summit 2018. There we will exhibit a pavilion introducing the e-Estonia solutions. The delegation will take the floor at a panel discussion held within the summit. Meetings in Uganda include also one with the local minister of justice.
Initial phase of digital development
According to our CEO Priit Kongo, the active engagement of Estonian IT companies towards the African direction started already nearly five years ago and some first projects have even been completed. “Net Group’s experience in Eastern Africa is very positive. This is just like déjà vu – Estonia 25 years ago,” Kongo said.
According to him, the local countries are currently in the initial phase of digital development. Responsible positions are held by well-educated young people who want to successfully build their countries. We can see great desire to learn from a country like Estonia on how to make smart use of the technologies. “Net Group, as the creator of Estonian court IT systems, is focusing on building the legal systems of East African countries.” he specified.
The aim of the visit
“The purpose of this visit is to introduce the benefits which the current partners have already gained with the help of Estonians and naturally, to develop relationships for carrying out new exciting projects in the coming years,” Kongo explained. “The biggest challenge for Africa is the young and increasing population, more than half of the population is less than 20 years old.”
Investments into the e-governance technologies mean a fast possibility for creating better opportunities to receive education, create jobs and achieve fair and dignified life. These are the areas where we expect new possibilities for cooperation for Estonian IT companies.
Undiscovered potential in the area
According to Mait Palts, the General Director of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, there is undiscovered potential in the area, as well as in other developing countries. “There are quite a few Estonian companies already doing business in Africa and many have just a few steps to go before signing the contracts. Therefore it is important to support the presence of our companies in the area,” Palts explained.
“African countries seek for opportunities for digitizing their public services and we Estonians have our e-governance experience to share. Also, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed last year between Estonia and the African Union Commission,” said Väino Reinart, Undersecretary, Economic and Development Affairs Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “I am happy that the Estonian ICT sector is represented in such large numbers at one of Africa’s major event, Transform Africa Summit, that discusses digital transformation.”
Read the original article in Estonian.