Estonian Development Fund sparks discussion of Estonia’s future relations with Asia
The Estonian Development Fund and the Foreign Affairs Committee of Riigikogu, the Estonian Parliament, jointly held a future strategy seminar titled „Rise of Asia: Impact and Strategic Choices for Estonia“on September 30th, 2011. The seminar led to a discussion paper on choices of how Estonia could deepen its economic and commercial ties with key Asian economies, and this paper is now open for global consultation.
„The ’Rise of Asia’ is possibly the biggest megatrend affecting the world economy and the global political landscape in the future,“ Ott Pärna, CEO of Estonian Development Fund, said when opening the seminar. „If we will not orient ourselves towards this region, we will risk losing out on a great deal of future growth opportunities.“
Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of Riigikogu, also emphasized in his speech that time has come to carefully consider and set aim for Asia-opportunities. „Unless we make the decision today and prioritize this direction, Estonia can miss the train that is already moving and fast,“ he said. The Foreign Affairs Committee of Riigikogu is holding a year-long series of briefings and consultations on possible national ’Asia strategy’. The results of this enquiry will be compiled in a report to be presented in spring 2012.
The seminar participants were a cross-sectoral group of 30 decision-makers and opinion-leaders drawn from parliament, governmental institutions, universities and private sector. They jointly elaborated on three possible alternatives of Estonia’s future economic engagement with Asia, considering relevant impacts and courses of action.
One option could be ’accelerated engagement’, a rapid build-up of activities across a range of countries and sectors; another option could be ‘cautious engagement’ of gradual build-up of relations focusing on a few key countries and sectors. Third alternative could be ‘no engagement’, when focus would be retained purely on Estonian relations with European neighbours and there would be only reactive responding as ad hoc opportunities come from Asia to Estonia.
The summary of these discussions have been compiled into a consultation paper to spark ideas and encourage wider debate on Estonia’s options for engagement with Asia, going beyond the seminar. The paper can be found at: http://www.arengufond.ee/upload/Editor/aasia/EDF_Asia_seminar_summary_30sept2011.pdf.
Estonian Development Fund will maintain this document as an open discussion paper, and welcomes all comments and reactions to the ideas raised in it to e-mail siim.sikkut[A]arengufond.ee.
The seminar was led and facilitated by global futurist and Asia strategy expert Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future Research. Mr Talwar and his team also prepared a set of four possible scenarios for Asia’s development over the next decade to inform the discussion. These scenarios are included in the discussion paper. To discuss the scenarios, feel free to contact Rohit Talwar at rohit[A]fastfuture.com.
A videocast of Rohit’s presentation at the seminar and the slides can be viewed at http://www.arengufond.ee/eng/videocasts/videocast2054.
Further information: Siim Sikkut, Economic Expert at Estonian Development Fund, siim.sikkut[a]arengufond.ee
Estonian Development Fund is a foresight think-tank and venture capital fund established by Riigikogu with the aim of opening up future opportunities for the Estonian economy and investing into innovative and ambitious Estonian technology companies. Future of economic relations between Estonian and Asia is one of the foresight topics for Estonian Development Fund in 2011.