Estonia’s position in the world’s leading indices of the information and communication technologies (ICT) is surprisingly low, if taking account the diversity and level of the ICT solutions. This study analyses the background of Estonia’s low position, gives policy recommendations to ensure better recognition of the ICT sector in considered indices and proposes a concrete action plan for improving the position.
„Country’s capacity and reliability depend largely on how the country is able to use technological opportunities arising from ICT to develop the economy and society.“ – Katrin Pihor
Estonia’s position were analysed in two leading indices which assess the use of ICT – the World Economic Forum (NRI) and the United Nations e-Government Development Index (EGDI). Although ICT indices are widely recognized in the world, there are weaknesses and inaccuracies in their methodology which also affect the position of Estonia.
It turned out that the UN EGDI index is more objective which ensures the independence of the index but at the same time makes significantly more difficult to take country-specific context into account. NRI index is more transparent and methodically observable when compared to EGDI but that makes it also much more subjective and easily manipulated.
Estonia’s modest development in ICT sector is also displayed by indices:
- The innovation capacity and ability to obtain and introduce new technologies remains low in Estonian companies compared to neighbouring countries.
- In the opinion of entrepreneurs, the effectiveness of justice system is lower than in other countries, which refers to the efficiency and reputation problems of Estonian courts.
- The high tax burden on Estonian companies also stands out.
- Surveyed entrepreneurs are not satisfied with the quality of Estonia’s education.
Here are some suggestions on how to improve Estonia’s position:
- In future, more and more attention should be paid on increasing the customer-orientation of ICT services. The starting point should not only come from innovative solutions but from services that people need.
- Awareness should be raised and the ICT-aware demand in society at large should be developed.
- The role of users in shaping society should be considered in addition of the technical solutions as the importance of citizens’ participation in guiding the society’s development will increase.