Since the 1990s Estonia has made remarkable progress in information society development. Business and government leaders of the tiny country realized very early that computers could help compensate for a limited workforce and a lack of physical infrastruct... ure. Internet usage has grown rapidly over the past two decades and Estonia is performing better than the European Union average on measures of information technology achievement. Estonia’s public sector is highly advanced in providing sophisticated public services online.  See More

e-Estonia: The Making of An Information Age Society

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has seen firsthand how his country has taken advantage of the digital revolution. He shared that experience in a session chaired by World Bank's Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Kaushik Basu on May 27, 2014. Estonian business and government leaders realized early on that computers could help compensate for a limited workforce and a lack of physical infrastructure. Today the tiny country is performing better than the European Union average on measures of information technology achievement. Estonia’s public sector is highly advanced in providing sophisticated public services online.

In the country’s private sector, which ranks high in terms of the number of start-ups per person, telecommunications companies and banks have laid down vital cornerstones. Hand in hand with this, the public sector has been crucial in providing a favorable legislative environment, but also in funding the country’s key technology infrastructure. The result has been an electronic identification system and an array of innovative e-services. In addition, major public-private partnership initiatives for computer training and awareness-raising significantly contribute to Estonia’s status as a world leader in information technology.

  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves

    President of the Republic of Estonia
    President Ilves was born on December 26, 1953, in Stockholm, Sweden. He acquired his education in the United States — he graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1976 and received his Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. 1984 he moved to Europe, to work at the office of Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany, first as a researcher and foreign policy analyst and later as the Head of the Estonian Desk. He served as Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico from 1993 until 1996. From 1996 to 1998, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. After a brief period as Chairman of the North Atlantic Institute (1998), he was again appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. From 2002 until 2004, he was a Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Estonia, and from 2004 until 2006, he was Member of the European Parliament. Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected President of the Republic of Estonia in 2006. Ilves was re-elected for a second term in office in 2011. During his presidency Toomas Hendrik Ilves has been appointed to serve in several high positions in the field of ICT in the European Union. He served as Chairman of the EU Task Force on eHealth from 2011 to 2012. From 2012 to 2014, at the invitation of the European Commission, he was Chairman of the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board.
  • Kaushik Basu

    Senior Vice President (Development Economics) and Chief Economist, World Bank
    Kaushik Basu is Senior Vice President (Development Economics) and Chief Economist of the World Bank. Prior to this, he served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India and is currently on leave from Cornell University where he is Professor of Economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies. Mr. Basu is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and received India’s Padma Bhushan award as well as the National Mahalanobis Memorial award. Mr. Basu’s contributions span development economics, welfare economics, industrial organization and game theory. In addition to Cornell, he has taught at the Delhi School of Economics, Harvard, Princeton and MIT. He has published widely, including more than 160 papers in refereed journals and scholarly volumes, and has contributed articles to many widely read magazines and newspapers. He has authored several books including Beyond the Invisible Hand: Groundwork for a new Economics (Princeton University Press and Penguin). Mr. Basu holds a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. He is the second World Bank Chief Economist from a developing country and the first from India.
About the Seminar
  • When: May 27, 2014
  • Where: 1818 H St NW, Washington DC, Room MC 2-800
  • Watch: Talk Video
  • Follow updates on Twitter: #WDRinternet