Do you know the world’s leader digital country? Estonia

In 1991 Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union and the government undertook a series of reforms in order to modernize the economy. Nowadays it is one of the most advanced digital societies in the world, where 99% of state services are online, saving money and time to Government and people.

In order to attract high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs, Estonia is the first country to introduce a digital identity called “e-Residency”. In 2020 there are already 70 000 e-residents and more than 13 000 e-companies.

When it comes tech business, Estonia has produced four startup unicorns, Skype, Playtech, Transferwise, and Bolt (a startup company with a value of over $1 billion).


Key takeaways

GDP per capita $23,660 (2019)

Population 1.32 million inhabitants

Leading nation in cyber security, NATO Cyber Defence Centre and the EU IT Agency are situated here in Tallinn.

#2 country worldwide in internet freedom, according Freedom House

Trade to GDP ratio, 141% of GDP

Foreign Direct Investments, $2.96 billion (2019)

Exports of services, surplus $2.25 billion (2019)


With regard to foreign trade, Estonia was the 75th largest exporting economy in 2019, with a total of $16.8 billion according International Trade Centre.

Followed by Ghana (76) with $16.7 Billion and behind Venezuela (74) with $16.9 billion. The countries within its geographical area of influence like Sweden, Finland and Lithuania were placed in positions 33th, 42nd and 62nd respectively.


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Estonia Key Market Takeaways 01

International Trade

During the period 2015-2019, exports of goods increased at an average annual rate of 5.2% from $13.9 billion in 2015 to $16.8 billion in 2019.

Imports reached $18.6 billion in 2019. The trade balance deficit stood at -$1.84 billion

In 2019, the top 5 Estonian exports with 53% out of the total, were:

  • 15% Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television
  • 12% Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral
  • 10% Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal
  • 9% Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers
  • 7% Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings

The following 5 product groups represent 51% out of total Estonian imports during 2019:

  • 13% Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral
  • 13% Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television
  • 11% Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories
  • 10% Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers
  • 4% Plastics and articles thereof

In 2018, exports of technological products (medium high tech products), represented 47% out of the total of exported manufactured products.

Exports of services rose by an average annual rate of 9.3% in the period 2015-2019, from $5.85 to $8.03 billion.

During the period 2016-2019, foreign direct Investment (FDI) received by Estonia reached the average annual figure of $1.7 billion.   .

Its main trading partners are Finland, which represents 12% of exchanges, followed by Russian Federation with 9% of exchanges and finally Germany with 8% of exchanges.

The Ease of Doing Business 2020 report, ranks Estonia 18 out of 190 countries. The countries ranked before are Taiwan (15), United Arab Emirates (16) and North Macedonia (17). Behind are placed Latvia (19), Finland (20) and Thailand (21).


Economic factors

GDP per capita in 2019 was $23,660. During the period 2016-2019 GDP increased at an average annual rate of 4.4%.

In 2018, the Public debt was 35.4% of GDP. The inflation rate was 2.3% and the unemployment rate was 5.1% in 2019.


Social and technological

The population reached 1.3 million inhabitants. The urban population is 69%. The major urban areas are: Tallinn (394,024 inhabitants), Tartu (101,092 inhabitants) and Narva (66,980 inhabitants).

The Gini index, a statistical measure of income inequality, scored 0,304 in 2017.

According The Human Development Index report (HDI), published in 2019 by the United Nations, Estonia was ranked 29 out of 189 countries.

90% out of total population uses internet. The number of broadband subscriptions is 34 per 100 inhabitants.


Political and legal

The Estonian legal system is based on civil law. The type of government is a parliamentary republic.

The current president of the Republic is Kersti Kaljulaid (since 10 October 2016). The next elections are foreseen to be held in March 2023.

Estonia Key Market Takeaways 02

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Data from 2019, other years are stated.


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Photo by Matheus Frade on Unsplash

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