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Pope Francis gets Estonian e-residency

Pope Francis led mass on at the Liberty Square in Tallinn
Pope Francis led mass on at the Liberty Square in Tallinn AFP/File

Tallinn (AFP)

Pope Francis on Tuesday became an e-resident of Estonia while on a visit to the cyber-savvy Baltic country known for being one of the world's most wired nations.

"Pope Francis is the 37,647th e-resident," the Estonian presidency said in a statement after the pontiff received his own digital ID.

Estonia "began offering e-residency in 2014 to provide people around the world with a secure digital identity and online access to Estonia's public and private services," it added.

Other notable names from among the thousands of e-residents from 157 countries are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Touted as a "trans-national government-issued digital identity", e-residency allows users to open a business in the EU and then run it remotely with the ability to declare taxes and sign documents digitally.

It does not provide citizenship, tax residency, physical residency or the right to travel to Estonia.

The country dubbed E-stonia has made a name for itself as a trailblazer in technology, notably having pioneered e-voting in 2005 and playing host to NATO's cyber defence centre.

Pope Francis has been on a tour of the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since the weekend.

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