Development Fund envisions in a new report the future of Estonia-India economic relations
Estonian Development Fund has published a foresight report titled “Estonia-India: The future of relations”. The report follows a yearlong foresight project to present opportunities for advancing mutual business and economic cooperation between the two countries. The report also features recommendations for realizing the proposed opportunities, which form a good basis for launching the activities of the Embassy of Estonia in New Delhi among others.
Development Fund conducted the Estonia-India foresight project in collaboration with the Embassy of India in Finland and Estonia. The objective was to identify the future opportunities for business and economic co-operation between the two countries, develop pilot projects and advance contact networks in both countries to initiate co-operation.
“Estonia-India relations hold great potential and for both countries, when looking at the need and interest for co-operation emerging from trends,” said director of the foresight project, Mr Siim Sikkut. “Despite the difference in size, long distance and low levels of current business relations between Estonia and India, they can both offer what the other increasingly needs.” For Indian investors, Estonia can be a gateway to European markets and the Indian market offers plenty of business opportunities for Estonian companies of various sectors and areas. In the Development Fund’s view, the best possibilities for creating mutually beneficial partnerships and getting access to the market in India arise in the business of ICT, biotech and cleantech.
Yet, the business exchange between the two countries has been modest to date. That is why there is a need to increase person-to-person contact and establish joint initiatives on a wider scale. Accordingly, deepening of co-operation in education and research should hold a priority between Estonia and India, as it enables the exchange of knowledge as well as creates business and trade in the long-term. Another important enabler of business and collaboration is the development of travel connections and tourism.
The governments have leading roles to play within all these directions, to activate interests and pave the way to kick-start co-operation. Several concrete follow-up initiatives have grown out of Development Fund’s foresight work, allowing co-operation ideas to be brought to life. These suggestions form a good basis for launching the activities of the Embassy of Estonia in India as it is currently being set up.
The Indian side also attaches great value to the report and its recommendations. “The foresight project is not an end-point, but rather the beginning of broader co-operation,” said H.E. Aladyian Manickam, Ambassador of the Republic of India in Finland and Estonia. “It is very important now to take the steps proposed in the report and to do so in all the fields of activity.” For example, arising from the foresight work a bilateral aviation agreement and also ICT and biotech co-operation memorandums are currently under negotiation between the two governments; the Estonian universities are planning a joint India visit together with Estonia’s Minister of Education and Research in the fall of 2012; various Estonian entrepreneurs look forward to joining a delegation to India once the Estonian embassy opens there; etc.
The conclusions and recommendations of the foresight project are based on a thorough analysis of future trends of business and economy in India and Estonia, undertaken by the Estonian Development Fund. Various seminars, workshops and meetings in both Estonia and India were held throughout the course of the project. By participating at such events, experts and decision-makers from business, academia and government took part in formulating the conclusions of the foresight work as well as the planning of follow-up initiatives.
“Although we hereby propose a vision and suggestions for advancing co-operation with India – one of the leaders of global economy of the future – the foresight results do offer lessons in a wider sense, too,” said Sikkut. “Estonia-India foresight project was a pilot project of sorts for the Government of Estonia in how it is at all possible to identify our interests in distant and less-known markets, and how to build collaboration accordingly.”
The report and various background and interim materials of the Estonia-India foresight project are available at Development Fund website: http://www.arengufond.ee/eng/foresight/india
Estonian Development Fund is a foresight think-tank and venture capital fund established by Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), with the objectives of opening up future opportunities for the Estonian economy through foresight work and investing into innovative and ambitious Estonian technology companies.
Foresight Director at Estonian Development Fund