Estonia and the United States have signed a joint declaration aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation on digital transformation in development cooperation partner countries, the foreign ministry says.
Bonnie Glick, Deputy Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), joined foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) in signing the statement, which will see both countries aim to share experiences and best practices from both public and the private sectors in digital transformation, on Wednesday.
"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," Reinsalu said of the deal.
"Our partners agree that particularly in the age of COVID-19, digital transformation is the key to meeting sustainable development goals."
The plan is also to contribute to the development of technological solutions which support a safe and open digital society, the foreign ministry adds.
A smart approach to development cooperation has long been central for Estonia, Reinsalu added.
"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," he said.
The main areas of future cooperation include e-governance, improving the quality and availability of education, e-health, and supporting free media, the foreign minister went on.
A second joint declaration was also signed, aimed at the digital empowerment of emerging economies and including the private sector in the process.
The parties also talked at length about closer development cooperation between the U.S. and partner countries in the Eastern Partnership (EaP), on the EU's eastern flank, and further afield, including in Africa.
The meet came a few days after this year's Three Seas Virtual Summit, which Reinsalu also attended and which saw progress made on U.S., as well as EU, commitment to development in the region of 12, primarily Central and Eastern European, EU nations, primarily in the digital, energy, environmental and transport spheres.
Support for Belarusian civil society and joint activities aimed at facilitating freedom of speech following that country's controversial recent presidential elections were also on the table.
Editor: Andrew Whyte