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Estonia signs e-governance cooperation agreement with African Union

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. Source: (Jürgen Randma/Government Office)

Attending the African Union-European Union summit in Abidjan, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) on Thursday signed keepwell agreements with the African Union and Mauritius for the development of e-governance.

The agreement with the African Union more broadly concerns e-governance cooperation, while the agreement with Mauritius concentrates more specifically on the creation of a regional e-governance training module, according to a government press release. The signing of both agreements took place during the EU-AU summit.

"Several African countries, similarly to Estonia, have the prerequisites to become a successful e-state," Ratas said. Like Estonia, he explained, African countries began building e-states from scratch, without having first developed complicated and strict systems for decades which would require major changes.

"I am very happy that African countries have specific interests in e-Cabinet, e-Health and, more generally, in X-Road, for example," he noted. "First of all, Estonia offers its experience in developing an e-Government, which has been an important development force for us. Both the African Union and Mauritius wish to establish counseling centers and think tanks similar to the Estonian e-Governance Academy. Estonian entrepreneurs and e-Government developers have a lot of cooperation opportunities here."

The Estonian head of government explained that neighbors' interconnected e-governance systems support the expansion of trade and improve accessibility to public services as well as help create new jobs, especially for young people, and provide a better overview of migration.

During the two-day summit focused on the creation of better opportunities for young people, the 83 countries of the EU and AU reached a joint position on five topics: economic growth, investments and skills, peace and security, migration and mobility, governance, climate change and natural resources.

"I am very happy that the EU, the AU and the UN now have a plan to fight human traffickers together and help refugees return back home from Libya," Ratas said. "In addition, we came to an agreement on the joint statement, i.e. the principles that we will follow until the next summmit, where we hope to be able to talk about specific projects already. Africa needs Europe, but we should not forget that Europe needs Africa as well."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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