President meets African leaders in Addis Ababa, discusses digital Estonia

President Kersti Kaljulaid speaking at the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa.
President Kersti Kaljulaid speaking at the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa. Source: Office of the President of the Estonian Republic

President Kersti Kaljulaid is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, attending a meeting with various African heads of state, where she discussed digital issues and related the Estonian experience.

"We were told by all to follow their example. To do what they had been doing before us," the president said, likening the situation in many African nations' digital societies to those of Estonia's on the restoration of its independence.

"The young government of our country realised that this [ie. following others] cannot be true. If you do the same things other people before you have been doing, you are never going to catch up. We realised we must do things differently," she added. 

The Estonian president's visit included attending the Assembly of the African Union, and the opening of its 32nd ordinary session, in the Ethiopian capital. During the visit, she is also scheduled to discuss the agenda Estonia would take to the UN Security Council if elected a non-permanent member for 2020-2021, something she has been heavily involved in promoting.

President Kaljulaid also took part in the Smart Africa board meeting, hosted by the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. She has also met with President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbawe whilst in Addis Ababa. One Zimbabwean news portal reporting on the meet referred to her as ''President Eesti Vabariigi'', of ''another Ex Soviet state'', adding that no ''mega deal'' had been reached.

President Kaljulaid is due back in Estonia on Tuesday.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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