The Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid landed on Thursday in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on her first trip to the country, which could have a lot of meaning.
She was met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Kenya’s Foreign Minister Raychelle Omamo and Defense Minister Monica Juma.
Ms. Kaljulaid will hold talks with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and other senior government officials their three-day official visit.
The detailed itinerary of the trip has yet to be published. However, the president is expected to meet with Safaricom bosses, officials from the Bolt taxi app, and senior officials from the Department of Education, which may suggest that the digitally savvy state’s IT expertise is being used.
The EU member state, which has strongly embraced the digital world in most functions, was one of the pioneers of e-voting – online testing vote in the 2015 local elections. It continued to implement the system and introduced electronic voting in addition to physical voting in the last elections.
The country operates an e-ID system, one of the most advanced in the world World that enables owners to remotely sign travel documents or even insurance certificates. People can apply for travel documents without entering the office.
Estonia also has an electronic residence permit which allows people, even outside the country, to access certain services electronically.
The country was known for e-schooling long before Covid-19 forced schools around the world to implement online learning systems. In Estonia, parents can remotely check their children’s performance at school and contact teachers remotely.
Other digitized services in Estonia include delivery services by robots, electronic prescriptions, mobile parking, learning the local language and filing taxes.
Kenya has also tried to launch these services, but some, like the school laptop project and a centralized identification system, haven’t yet done kicked away. The laptop project promised in 2013 is embroiled in procurement controversies and has almost come to a standstill.
Estonia, the has only two embassies on the continent, the IT specialty could use it to improve its business relations with the continent. According to the country’s ten-year regional strategy until 2030, a full embassy is to be opened in Nairobi by next year.
Traditionally, Estonia has handled relations through a non-resident ambassador in Cairo. The country also plans to intensify relations with the African Union based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.