On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) began his three-day visit to London and Dublin by ringing the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange, one of the largest and oldest stock exchanges in the world.
"Today I had the honor of ringing the opening bell at the dignified London Stock Exchange and urging traders and entrepreneurs to look into investment opportunities in the digital economy, including those in Estonia," Ratas said after the stock exchange's opening ceremony and meeting with the board, according to a government press release.
The prime minister noted that digitalization is currrently shaping the world economy and affecting trade, much like the industrial revolution did in the past. Estonia's capability for research and development in the field of information technology is well illustrated by a number of success stories, he said, including those of Fortumo, Guardtime, Skeleton Technologies, Starship Technologies, Skype and Transferwise.
Ratas highlighted digital signatures, cross-border digital identities, 5G infrastructure, the invisible e-governance of the new generation, and Estonia's unique e-residency program as technologies and trends of the future.
"After the Brexit referendum, the interest of British people in our e-residency grew exponentially," said the prime minister. "As of the end of January, more than 1,500 e-residency applications have been submitted from the U.K., and e-residents have established about 120 new companies without leaving their home country."
Ratas also urged investors and entrepreneurs to use the open and flexible entrepreneurial and legislative area of Estonia to test and develop new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and self-driving vehicles.
According to the Government Office, in 2016, the U.K. was the sixth largest eport country of destination for Estonia, and approximately 40 Estonian businesses are based in London, the most active of which are start-ups who remain interested in the British market.
Ratas is also to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, with whom he will discuss issues ranging from defense and the state of security in the world to the development of future technologies.
In the evening, the Estonian prime minister is to meet with the local Estonian community in London as well as the Friends of Estonia. He will also attend a concert of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir dedicated to the Estonian centennial.
Editor: Aili Vahtla