Estonia Country Performance, Brand Strength and Reputation

Estonia, the small Baltic country with little natural resources, has been working hard to position itself as an innovative, technology-friendly country. Proud of being the first e-state with numerous digital solutions that make tax-paying and voting easier for its citizens, a few years Estonia started the first e-residency program to invite foreign citizens to open businesses in Estonia. How well have these policies paid off? Let’s explore how Estonia shapes its narrative on the world stage, drawing insights from data provided by TPBO partners and other reputable institutions.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Estonia’s soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Estonia’s soft power and brand strength

How does Estonia compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally? 

In the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance, Estonia secured the 51st spot, a commendable improvement from the 91st spot it held last year. Impressively, Iceland’s score has shown growth, rising from 29.9  in 2022 to 40 this year, helping the nation jump 40 positions this year.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, Estonia secured the 56th position, behind Sri Lanka (54th) and Romania (55th). Notably, Estonia does best in two key areas: open for business (28th) assessing cheapness of manufacturing costs, favorable tax environment, bureaucracy and corruption levels, and level of government transparency; and social purpose (28th), examining animal, human and respects property rights, care for the environment, commitment to climate goals and social justice, gender and racial equality, religious freedom, trustworthiness and distribution of political power. Estonia has maintained its positioning from 2022, with lowest scores in movers and power.

Estonia’s appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel 

What is the global perception of Estonia as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks Estonia in 29th position out of 53 countries, below Canada (27th) and Saudi Arabia (28th). Estonia’s best metrics are: Work Culture and Satisfaction (1st), Work and Leisure (7th), and Safety and Security (10th).

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. They place Estonia at the 67th global position. Regionally, Estonia now holds the 26th position, experiencing a jump of eight positions, due to good performances in FDI inflows and social media, as well as an increase in CBS Rating ©. 

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Estonia at the 87th global position. Regionally, Estonia now holds the 32nd position, maintaining its positioning from the previous ranking. 

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, Estonia secured the 26th position, dropping four positions from the 2022 ranking. Currently, it sits just behind Austria (24th) and Bahrain (25th), while surpassing Malaysia (27th) and South Korea (28th).

In terms of specific characteristics, Iceland’s economic performance dropped 21 positions to the 54th spot in 2023. It holds the 15th position for government efficiency, maintaining its position from 2022. Lastly, Estonia drops three positions to the 25th position for business efficiency, and holds the 29th spot for infrastructure, dropping two positions since 2022.

According to the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Estonia belongs to the second group, Strong Innovators, whereas Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden are Innovation Leaders in the region. Estonia’s performance has increased by  29.3% points during the period between 2016 and 2023. Its strengths are: Trademark applications, Lifelong learning, Public-private co-publications, International scientific co-publications, and Employment in innovative enterprises. While its weaknesses are: Air emissions by fine particulate matter, Resource productivity, Government support for business, R&D Medium and high-tech goods exports, and Environment-related technologies.

Estonia a Good Country?

What is Estonia’s contribution to global well-being?

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, Estonia secured the 49th position, trailing behind Iceland (47th) and Paraguay (48th). 58% of its adult population helped a stranger, 52% donated money, 21% volunteered. This overall ranking showcases an impressive jump for Estonia as in the 2022 ranking, it ranked 64th.

In the Good Country Index, Estonia currently holds the 22nd position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (28th), Culture (2nd), International Peace & Security (55th), World Order (84th), Planet & Climate (9th), Prosperity & Equality (29th), and Health & Wellbeing (36th). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, Estonia was ranked 19th, and in 2021, it held the 14th position.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Estonia ranked in the light blue zone (7-8 range) with a 7.96 out of 10. This is higher than the US who scored 7.85 and Belgium 7.64 but lower than France who scored  8.07 and the UK who scored 8.28.

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index, ranks Estonia 14th with a score of 74/100, tied with Canada, Iceland and Uruguay.  Estonia’s score has maintained the same since 2021. 

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Estonia in 10th position, it highlights that Estonia, although in the top ten, continues to face some significant and major challenges. However, the Quality Education goal has reached  SDG achievement status and continues to be on track. The Life on Land goal has also reached the SDG achievement status and is moderately increasing. While the Partnerships for the Goals is on track.

Peace and happiness in Estonia

Is Estonia a happy and safe place to invest time and money in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Estonia 25th, jumping one position from last years’ index. Estonia sits behind Norway (24th), and above Slovakia (26th). Estonia falls under the high sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks Estonia within the no high impact (green) zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. Estonia ranks 93rd, tying with many countries for least impactful in terms of terrorism. 

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks Estonia 31st.

Environmental performance in Estonia

How well does Estonia perform in terms of environmental sustainability?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Estonia 14th, sitting between Germany (13th) and Latvia (15th) . The EPI analyzes the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Estonia has experienced a change in score of positive 6.1.

Talent attraction and competitiveness in Estonia

What are the conditions for talent attraction and retention in Estonia?

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed Estonia at the 31st position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past 5 years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

Estonia, classified as a high-income country within the European regional group, currently holds the 20th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Notably, Estonia performs most remarkably in the GK Skills pillar where it holds the 13th position and its main challenge is the VT Skills pillar where it ranked 33rd.

Last updated in November 2023. More country profiles here.

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