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Estonia reigns supreme as the leader in investment promotion

For the fourth year in a row, Estonia takes first place in Emerging Europe's ranking of investment promotion agencies, thanks to its innovative use of digital tools, AI and precise communication.

For the fourth consecutive year, Estonia has emerged as the leader in Emerging Europe’s annual ranking of investment promotion agencies. Known for its highly digitalised society and open business environment, Estonia has outperformed its competitors in innovation, creativity, and community building, maintaining its position at the top. While other countries managed to improve in support and community building, they couldn’t surpass Estonia’s impressive performance.

Since 2018, Emerging Europe has been researching the communication strategies of national investment promotion agencies in the region, exploring their use of digital channels and social media diplomacy to attract potential investors. Andrew Wrobel, founder of Emerging Europe, emphasises that their goal is to highlight best practices and encourage IPAs to learn from one another to improve their communications and service quality.

Craig Turp-Balazs, editor of Emerging Europe, acknowledges Estonia’s consistent excellence, stating: “We’ve come to expect good things from Estonia, so its continued dominance of this ranking is not a surprise.” Turp credits the hard work of the Invest Estonia team for maintaining the country’s high standards. Those efforts are directly translating into the results. Last year, Invest Estonia helped bring €351M worth of foreign direct investments and over 1600 new high-paying jobs to the country, an all-time record.

FDI champions

“It is, of course, always a great honour to become featured in the FDI tops – it proves that all our hard work to be future-proof has been noticed. Our new strategy for 2030 propels us forward with innovative initiatives aiming for a brighter economic future by attracting FDI more effectively,” says Joonas Vänto, Director of Invest Estonia. “IPAs need to change because the economies change, and every crisis creates new business opportunities. Invest Estonia always tries to be one step ahead, and I believe new keywords in FDI attraction are value chains, proactivity, data-driven decision-making and new-age digital tools.”

Among Invest Estonia’s notable achievements is the introduction of ComparEST, an online tool that enables foreign investors to compare Estonia with other countries based on various factors, including the business environment, labour market, and taxation. This unique tool combines machine learning, academic research, and the expertise of investment advisors to provide data-backed insights into Estonia’s competitiveness. The tool has already received recognition and was shortlisted for an award in the Modern and Future-proof Policymaking Initiative category by Emerging Europe and listed among UNESCO’s top 100 artificial intelligence projects.

Besides the new developments, a well-proved electronic investment advisor, Eia, continues to help to handle the increasing number of customer inquiries. It can generate detailed investment offers, assign leads to advisors, and interact with the organisation’s sales force automation system, providing efficient and uninterrupted service.

“We are glad that our strategic efforts in digitalising and applying a truly customer-centric approach in investment promotion are paying off. We are honoured that Invest Estonia is being recognised internationally as one of the region’s strongest players, ” says Andero Kaha, CTO of Invest Estonia.

Estonia’s strong position in the New Nordics is unchallenged by the economic environment. According to the latest data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in 2022, FDI inflows across emerging Europe reached $85.5 billion, showing a 2% decrease compared to 2021, following a remarkable 64% increase in the previous year.

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