On Tueday morning, President Kersti Kaljulaid delivered the opening remarks at the two-day Tallinn e-Governance Conference 2017, which has brought together participants from 115 countries around the world.
"A quarter of a century ago, when Estonia restored its independent statehood, we were a poor country," Kaljulaid said in her opening remarks as published by the Office of the President. "The crucial question stood in front of us — how to overcome the legacy left to us by the Soviet occupation? Our response was — we need to build up a modern, efficient and democratic state. Radical reforms were carried out in all walks of life. The forward-looking idea was to harness the innovative potential of information and communication technology (ICT). Neither we nor anyone else knew 20 years ago how important the internet and ICT would become and what role it would play in the organization of state and society.
"The choice we made in favor of technology was not an easy one. The decision to invest the scarce resources of a newly-restored independent state — not into repairing potholes in roads or crumbling school-buildings but into equipping those school buildings with computers and an internet connection. In hindsight we can agree that the Tiger Leap program, as it was called, gave the entire Estonian society the momentum to make a digital leap into the future. Schoolchildren, having become computer literate, brought their newly-acquired skills home and also 'infected' their parents, and grandparents, with the digital 'bug.' Priorities changed for families — instead of a new refrigerator, it was often decided to rather invest into a computer and an internet connection."
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