ESTDEV’s program implementation in Africa is based on the objectives of the Estonian Foreign Policy Strategy 2030, the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Program 2020–2023, and the Estonia’s strategy for Africa. The role of ESTDEV is to contribute to the security and stability of the African continent through development cooperation and long-term humanitarian assistance, to strengthen bilateral economic relations, and to support sustainable development in African partner countries.
In mapping the opportunities for cooperation, ESTDEV proceeded based on the development needs of Africa’s priority partner countries (Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, and Botswana), focusing on areas where Estonia has strong added value to offer: supporting educational innovation, boosting digital and green revolutions, and business development. In addition, ESTDEV, together with its partners, contributes to the mitigation of long-term humanitarian crises in Africa.
ESTDEV aims to support partner countries in achieving their sustainable development goals and reducing poverty and inequality. Increasing the socio-economic well-being of African countries, the inclusion of women and girls, and good governance creates a favorable environment for a competitive economy, business development, and job creation.
Several representatives of Estonian civil society and the private sector have been active in Africa for many years. The establishment of ESTDEV in 2021 gave an additional impetus to the consolidation of Estonia’s experience and the emergence of strategic cooperation toward Africa. The goal for 2021 was to get an overview of the activities and plans of Estonian companies in Africa and to map partners both in Estonia and abroad with whom to develop cooperation to achieve strategic goals.
As a small country, it is important for Estonia to actively participate in major international initiatives such as the European Union’s Digital4Development Initiative (D4D) or the U.N. and World Bank initiatives. It is also important to develop bilateral relations with third countries’ development cooperation organizations in Africa in order to maximize the effectiveness of operations and find local partners.
In total, ESTDEV’s African portfolio includes 22 projects, totaling 2.5 million euros. In addition to the priority countries, projects are currently being funded in Ghana. Estonian development cooperation money has also been used to carry out smaller information projects. There are 6 projects of this type in Africa and volunteer experts have been sent to Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda.
Karin Maasel, Head, Africa and Emerging Markets Department
Andres Ääremaa, Program Manager for Digital Transformation
Kristel Rillo, Program Manager for Digital Education
Annika Leek, Project Specialist
Katrin Winter, Advisor, East-Africa