When it comes to empowering citizens through technology, of Estonia is a trailblazer. And recently, Antigua and Barbuda negotiated a brighter technological future by establishing diplomatic relations with the northern European country, which has a population of 1.3 million people.
The twin island nation expanded its diplomatic reach on 5th February 2020, when Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Karen-Mae Hill presented her Letter of Credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Antigua and Barbuda to Her Excellency Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of the Republic of Estonia.
Ambassador Hill, who is the first Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to Estonia, told OBSERVER media that the President of Estonia has already expressed interest in assisting with the advancement of the twin island’s technological capability.
“She shared that Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean should seek to take advantage of the type of ICT capabilities Estonia has. She said ‘the knowledge that we have is something that we want to share’, and she’s encouraging us to be a champion of this. These are discussions I’m looking forward to holding with our minister of technologies and our minister Nicholas as to how we can we can work with other Caribbean countries to bring greater technologies, especially in the area of cybersecurity and strengthen our governance capabilities with the support of Estonia,” Ambassador Hill disclosed.
She said that Estonia will also be supporting Antigua and Barbuda’s efforts to tackle climate change.
“The President was very warm in her statement that there is an interest to support us in this effort and also climate change … the challenges we face with access and financing after disasters, building resilience to treat with disasters when they happen. She expressed interest in supporting our advocacy in respect of the plight of small states on climate change,” she added.
Moreover, noting that there are two students from Antigua and Barbuda currently studying European law in Estonia, Ambassador Hill said that making more scholarships available is a priority.
She added that she met with officials from various offices and “we want to look at immediately how we can get additional scholarships for students, because we have students there on scholarship from the generous Estonian government.”
As she reiterated that Antigua and Barbuda has secured a solid friendship with Estonia, the ambassador posited: “Small island developing states need to position ourselves in such a way that we can take advantage of the friendship of countries like Estonia who want to help us advance our interests even while we support them in their interests. And I don’t think we can ever have too many friends, especially when those friends share values. And this is another great example of Antigua and Barbuda expanding its reach into parts of the world that we wouldn’t traditionally necessarily think about the possible one is absolutely common with us.”
The Republic of Estonia is a member of the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and currently sits as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
After gaining independence from Soviet Russia in 1918 and again in 1991, Estonia rapidly transformed into a developed country with a very high human development index being ranked 30 out of 189 measures countries. Leading up to and after joining the EU in 2004, Estonia pioneered the digital revolution and e-governance and is as such today recognised as a global leader in information and communication technologies.