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"Estonians joke about themselves that favorite "food" of an Estonian is another Estonian".

"Эстонцы шутливо говорят, что любимое "блюдо" эстонца - это другой эстонец".

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Today in the morning I heard that there is a conference in Tallinn on the question "Where does the future of Estonia lie?" Meaning that still developing Estonia should take an example from a successful state. So which country should it be? European country or, maybe, USA? It is nice to know that the question about the future of Estonia is still opened to suggestions.
Until recently Estonia has been considered the #1 country in the field of info technologies development among former Soviet Union republics and even some developed European states. In some fields of IT appliance, we still are. For example, statistics for 2004 show that about 70% of Estonians declared their incomes via Internet. It is quite an impressive number according to European statistics! Also, the use of e-banking in Estonia is higher than European average.
These facts as well as the successful implementation of WiFi (wireless Internet communication) and use of ID-ticket (identification document) in public transport in Estonia make us proud. But at the same time that Estonians have been admiring their achievements, Estonia`s place in the IT development has been taken by Latvia and Slovenia. Postimees article 0704.04 est
EU researches show, that in Estonia only 26% of people have Internet access at home, whereas in Slovenia - 46% and Czech Republic - 37%. In Estonian schools there are 4 computers per 100 students, whereas EU average is 5,9 (per 100 students). Latvia, for example, has 5 computers per 100 students.
A year ago Estonian IT specialists recognized the fact that our IT development had stopped, and the situation hasn`t improved since. One of the arguments why this happens is that the heads of Estonian IT innovation companies have little entrepreneurship spirit in them as well as little will to take risks. IT companies` foreign investors follow the pattern that only if innovations will surely make profits, then they will give resources that are needed in order to lounge these innovations.
Estonian specialists have come up with great ideas, such, as e-Tax and Customs Board and X-Road (the modernization program of national databases with the aim to change national databases into a common public, service-rendering resource). But Estonia surely needs to export its innovations outside its borders in order to be recognizable. In this area Tallinn should take an example from the "city of students" Tartu, as Tartu companies make considerable part of IT-sector's export.
The main problem is still that e-development in Estonia seems to be nobody`s business.

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