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President of Estonia in Ethiopia: Africa must find its own way to become a digital society

President of Estonia in Ethiopia: Africa must find its own way to become a digital society © Office of the President

11.02.2019

Like Estonia did 30 years ago, Africa must leapfrog technologies and processes to catch up to current digital societies, the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid said during a high-level meeting on digital issues within the framework of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"We were told by all to follow their example. To do what they had been doing before us," president Kaljulaid said. "The young government of our country realised that this 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." 

President Kaljulaid spoke about how a digital transformation is especially useful for bringing people together from areas with a very low population density. She also spoke about the risks of digitalization and the responsibility of implementing security measures and a legal framework for a digital society to function sustainably. 

President Kersti Kaljulaid is in Ethiopia to visit the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During the visit, she is also discussing the agenda Estonia wishes to take to the UN Security Council if elected a non-permanent member for 2020-2021. She also took part of the Smart Africa board meeting, hosted by Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. 

The full text of the speech by President Kaljulaid is available here.