The 4th Eastern Partnership Business Forum ‘“Digital Economy: Innovative Platform for Transparent Borderless Business” took place on 26-27 October 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia.
The event was held under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, represented by Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of the Republic of Estonia. In her speech she noted that the EU is interested in closer relations with EaP countries. «I am very glad to see that there are so many people sitting in this room today, not just representatives of government agencies and large businesses but also of small- and medium-sized enterprises as well. The Estonian experience shows that SMEs are often the most successful firms, as they often develop innovative solutions that can change the world, while providing flexibility to the business world as well. In the 21st century, it is precisely this flexibility – to adapt to new situations and new solutions», – the President added.
The main objective of the forum was to promote cross-border economic relations, transparency, new business opportunities and cooperation between EU and Eastern Partnership countries. More than 500 business leaders from the EU and EaP countries, as well as government officials and EU policy makers. The audience was greeted by Mr. Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Mr. Vazil Hudák, the Vice-President, European Investment Bank.
Under the EU4Business initiative, the EU provides access to finance, supports exports to new markets and offers know-how for growth to small businesses in post-Soviet partner countries. The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said: « The Business Forum today is a great opportunity to discuss challenges of modernising economies and societies in the Eastern Partnership. Small businesses have a key role to play and the EU actively works with partner countries and international financial institutions to ensure the right business environment. Through the EU4Business initiative in particular, the EU is providing increasing support for them to grow, export, innovate and adapt to a digital economy».
The Forum’s focus was issued of digital Society and innovations. The EaP and EU countries shares their experience in e-Governance and digital economy; cross-border trade, logistics and e-commerce; facilitating international business and innovations; innovative technologies and horizontal digitalization.
During the plenary discussion 1 “e-Governance and Digital Economy – reinventing business, transforming the economic environment”, the achievements of the Republic of Azerbaijan were presented by Mrs. Jana Krimpe, the founder of B.EST Solutions company the head of the Azerbaijan Mobile ID Consortium. She informed the audience with such Azerbaijan innovations as «Asan İmza» Mobile ID as well as outputs of the Digital Trade Hub of Azerbaijan and innovative “Asan Services” Public agency. She also told the Forum’s participants about innovative Azerbaijan achievements, including «Asan İmza» integration with Azexport.az developed by the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications of Azerbaijan Republic based on the principle of partnership between the Public and private sectors and branded as «Made in Azerbaijan». Today the portal supports the export of goods made in Azerbaijan and works with global trade platforms such as Alibaba.com, eBay.com, Wholesale, All.biz. According to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, additional measures are being taken for widening the international trade and enhancing the Azexport.az portal as a Digital Trade Hub of Azerbaijan. According to this Decree «Asan İmza» will be issued to the foreign citizens in all diplomatic representative offices throughout the world.
The presentation of Azerbaijan innovations was of participants’ particular interest and was widely discussed by the audience and panel moderator, the President of European Innovation Academy.
The agreement between the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication and the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership was signed within the business-forum. The meetings with Enterprise Estonia (EAS) were arranged to discuss the issues of collaboration development interaction between the Estonia’s e-Residency and Azerbaijan’s m-Residency projects. During the forum it was repeatedly noted that Azerbaijan became the first country that officially announced the implementation of the m-Residency project, following the example of the Estonian e-Residency, one of the world most successful Public Start-ups.
The 4th Eastern Partnership Business Forum will be followed by the annual Eastern Partnership summit, to be held on November 24 in Brussels. Personal participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev in the Summit has been officially confirmed.