On Wednesday afternoon in Tallinn, Estonia, a high-level bilateral discussion on the importance of digitalization in a modern economy took place between Ghana, the fastest-digitizing nation in Africa, and Estonia, which is recognized as one of the most digitally advanced nations worldwide.
On a three-day working visit to Estonia, the Ghanaian delegation, led by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who has led Ghana’s remarkable digital transformation, met with President Alar Karis of Estonia on Wednesday afternoon. Others on the visit included Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Luukas Ilves, Undersecretary for Digital Transformation and Government CIO at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
As a world authority on digital economic transformation, Dr. Bawumia is in Estonia to study the remarkable tale of the Northern European nation in comparison to Ghana’s own digitalization journey, which has distinguished Ghana as an African leader in this regard.
Dr. Bawumia also discussed Ghana’s experience with digitalization over the past seven years and how it is already having a positive impact on the country, particularly in fighting corruption, making life easier for the populace, and affecting government revenue. The hosts of all the meetings with the president, prime minister, and Ministry of Economic Affairs of Estonia discussed how their nation’s investment in digitalization and their commitment to implementing same, for over two decades now, have resulted in a massive economic transformation.
Interestingly, inspite of being years ahead of Ghana in its digitalisation journey, Estonia’s digitalisation, christened e-Estonia, shares striking similarities with Digital Ghana, in the areas of national identification, addressing system, online government services and financial inclusion.
Just like the Ghanacard, e-Estonia is built on its digital national identity card system, which is mandatory for every Estonian citizen, and can also be used as a digital signature without the person being present.
The Estonian national ID is the catalyst for everything, including filing tax returns, booking train tickets, banking, and even voting, just as the Ghanacard is now the basis for many things in Ghana, including banking, and seeking government services such as applying for passports, drivers license, social security, travel document, etc. The national ID card.
Another similarity between e-Estonia and Digital Ghana, is Estonia’s famed e-Government service, which has brought many public services on online, just as the Ghana.Gov online platform
Similar to Ghana, Estonia’s e-Government has made over 100 public services available online. These services include filing forms online, paying fines, scheduling doctor appointments, verifying the expiration dates of licenses and insurance, filing tax returns, and many more.In Ghana, Gov does.
Another digital success story that Digital Ghana and e-Estonia have in common is financial inclusion. In Estonia, 99% of bank transfers are thought to be completed electronically using a computer or mobile device. This is known as the national ID card, or Mobile-ID. Similar to Ghana, mobile money interoperability has emerged as the most popular means of completing financial transactions.
Later on Thursday and Friday, Dr. Bawumia and his delegation are anticipated to have additional talks with Estonian authorities.