The Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, and Bonnie Glick, the deputy administrator of the US Agency for International Development on 21 October signed a joint declaration in Tallinn on enhancing bilateral cooperation on the digital transformation in development cooperation partner countries.
According to the joint statement, Estonia and the US plan to share the experiences and good practices from the public and the private sector on digital transformation in the framework of development cooperation. The aim is also to contribute to the development of technological solutions that support a safe and open digital society, the Estonian foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Today’s agreement helps us take our already close and long cooperation with one of the world’s largest humanitarian and development cooperation organisations to a new level. Our partners agree that particularly in the age of COVID-19, digital transformation is the key to meeting sustainable development goals,” Reinsalu said in a statement.
Creating a safe and sustainable digital society
According to him, a smart approach to development cooperation has long been central for Estonia. “We are using our capabilities for creating a safe and sustainable digital society to help partner states increase transparency and efficiency and boost business. This way, we are contributing to increased stability and prosperity in various parts of the world, which in turn benefits our security.”
The main areas of future cooperation include e-governance, improving the quality and availability of education, e-health and supporting free media, the foreign ministry added.
Reinsalu and Glick also discussed closer development cooperation in the partner countries of the US, including the Eastern Partnership countries and Africa. Supporting the civil society of Belarus and ensuring the freedom of speech through potential joint activities was also an important topic. Estonia recently allocated €500,000 for development cooperation projects in Belarus.
Cover: A software engineer in Rwanda. Photo by Placide Irandora/Unsplash.