Information society

Digital Agenda 2020 for Estonia 

In November 2018, Government of Estonia reviewed and approved the strategy for e-Estonia, the Digital Agenda 2020. The general objective of the strategy is the development of a mature and secure environment for the widespread use and development of smart ICT solutions.

Four goals were set for supporting the development of Estonian information society:

  • ICT infrastructure that supports economic growth, the development of the state and welfare of the population
  • More and higher value-added jobs, improved international competitiveness and higher quality of life
  • Smarter governance and pro-active services
  • Export promotion and awareness of Estonian e-government

The strategy is supposed to help Estonia to achieve the strategic goals laid out in the competitiveness agenda, Estonia 2020, and the sustainable development strategy, Sustainable Estonia 21:

  • Improving the competitiveness of the economy
  • Improving the welfare of people
  • Contributing to more effective governance


The information society policy of the Republic of Estonia is shaped and co-ordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

State information systems

State information systems must become more and more user friendly, secure and open.
Further information »

Electronic communication

Both the provision and use of electronic communication services are developing very fast – today, we have 390,000 users of mobile data communication.
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Information society services

The purpose for the development of public services is to create a virtual service provision environment that is as comfortable for citizens as possible.
Further information »

From document management to info management

The development of administration and document management is more and more closely related to the improvement of public services, which should become much more effective and obtain better quality.
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Cyber security

Cyber security must ensure the uninterrupted provision and reliability of public services.
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IT skills and knowledge

The basic information and communication technology skills are important for both the public and private sector and the state plans to invest considerably into IT education.
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Development activities


The digital agenda sets out the development activities to be implemented over the next seven years:

  • The construction of ultra fast basic Internet network will be completed – at the moment, one third of the planned 6,500 km basic network is finished. By 2020, the basic network will be finished and everyone in Estonia will be able to use fast Internet.
  • The Nordic E-governance Basic Infrastructures Innovation Institute will be established at the initiative of Estonia. This is intended to be an international development centre, aiming at joint development of X-Road, digital signature and other components of the basic infrastructure.
  • By 2020, 20% of the employment age population of the European Union will be using digital signature for faster business and handling of personal issues. The implementation of digital signature in the European Union will become one of the main goals of the external activities of Estonia and, where appropriate, also the issue to be pursued by Estonia in 2018, while holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
  • Coping with increasing data volumes and loss of privacy resulting from extensive interbase cross-usage of data will be made easier by taking control over the data usage. Conditions will be established to allow people to be always aware of who, when and for what purpose their date is being used and to marshal the use.
  • To avoid getting stuck in old technologies, a reform will be introduced to reform the public e-services and support IT solutions. Estonia’s public e-services must be modernised and meet uniform quality requirements. In addition, the “legacy” principle will be adopted, which means that in public sector, IT solutions of material importance must never be older than 13 years.
  • The state owns huge quantities of data; however, these are not used enough to adopt better political decisions and to offer better services. Over the years to come, the public sector’s capacity to absorb analytical solutions will be considerably improved.
  • Estonia will start to offer its secure and convenient services to the citizens of other countries. Virtual or e-residence will be launched – Estonia will start to issue electronic identity, in the form of digital ID, to non-residents; the services will be aiming for a position similar to that held by Swiss banking.
  • The “Data Embassy” concept will be implemented. This means secure storage of digital copies of registration information and records important for the state in virtual embassies that are located in other countries. As a result of the project, Estonia will be able to ensure the running of the country, using “cloud technology” and regardless of whether Estonia’s territorial integrity can be ensured or not; this concept is also valuable in case of many other hazards.
  • Estonia will strengthen its position as the think tank of information society to continue the dissemination of e-governance experiences and stand for the freedom of the Internet and the protection of privacy. A global information society think tank will be established in Estonia to achieve this goal.
  • The existence of a competent and innovative provider or competitive ICT sector is important for both the development of public sector IT solutions and economic development. In 2020, about 50% more people than in 2013 will be working in the ICT sector. For that purpose, we will contribute to enhancing the popularity of IT specialities within the framework of a life-long learning programme and improving the quality of the doctoral degree studies of these specialities.

Information Society Council and co-operation networks

The development of information society and implementation of the digital agenda is managed by a Council co-ordinated by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The Information Society Council consists of the representatives of governmental authorities and key private and third sector organisations involved in the development of information society and implementation of the digital agenda.

Thematic or task-based working groups and networks, for example, the document administration council and interoperability expert group, will be used to co-ordinate the implementation of the digital agenda; the network of IT managers of governmental authorities also play an important role.

The digital agenda provides for the launching of the vision network and initiation of intra-ministerial co-operation group. The purpose of these units is to ensure stronger links between the ICT policy and other national policies that influence the development of the information society (e.g. entrepreneurship and education policy).

Apart from the forms of co-operation listed above, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications also participates in the work of the work-groups of the Information Technology and Telecommunication Association and the e-governance Academy.



Funding from the European Union Structural Funds amount to 85% of the financing used for information society development.

In 2007–2013, the development of the information society will be supported with 62.6 million euros.

In 2014–2020, a contribution will mainly be made to the implementation of the digital agenda; more than 200 million euros has been allocated for that purpose, including the EU funds and own contribution.


Sample contract for sourcing software development with public tenders

A group of larger public sector organisations holding public tenders for IT services together with companies from the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL) developed a sample contract for sourcing software development with public tenders.

The goal of this contract is for the public sector to become a smarter customer and take more responsibility with an order, also to increase the quality of software development sourced with public tenders and develop public and private sector co-operation.

Sample contract was developed by the representatives of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, ITL, IT and Development Centre at the Ministry of the Interior, Centre of Registers and Information Systems,  Information Technology Centre at the Ministry of Finance and law firm GLIMSTEDT.


Last updated: 8 July 2019