Annual Digital Almaty forum: How heads of government discussed digital transformation

The forum ''Digital Reset: The Leap to the Next Normal'' with the participation of the prime ministers of the EAEU countries started in Almaty. The Heads of Government summed up the results of the last year and noted what success the states that are members of the union have achieved in the field of digitalization.

Before the start of the forum, the participants got acquainted with the exhibition of digital projects of Kazakhstan in the financial and banking, fiscal, telecommunications spheres and public administration.

The forum was opened by a plenary session with the participation of prime ministers of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, Belarus — Roman Golovchenko, Russia — Mikhail Mishustin, Kyrgyzstan — Ulukbek Maripov, Armenia — Nikol Pashinyan, Uzbekistan — Abdulla Aripov, Chair of the EEC Board Mikhail Myasnikovich, co-founder of Mikhail Lomtadze and the chair of the board of directors of ERG Alexander Machkevitch.

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the participants of the forum via videoconference with a welcoming speech.

The Head of State noted that over 90% of state services are provided in electronic format. During the crisis, about 6.5 million citizens received state support through digital systems.

“Schools and universities have switched to distance learning. Over 15 million people in Kazakhstan are users of the wireless Internet. We understand perfectly well: the future belongs to technology and innovation. The competition in this area is very high. According to analysts, in 2021 the market for technical, technological and software solutions aimed only at the development of artificial intelligence of wireless networks, compact computing systems will grow by 35% and will amount to about $12 billion. By 2025, 5G technology will allow enterprises to conduct cloud processing up to 70% of your data. In such conditions, we need a harmonization of approaches and a general combination of activities in this area,” the president said.

The Head of State said that in Nur-Sultan, on the basis of Nazarbayev University, together with the World Bank, a national cluster of artificial intelligence is being created.

“Data centers are being created. We plan to attract 500 billion tenge of investments. We invite partners in the EAEU and the region to cooperate. In the tax area, blockchain will be introduced. The tax authorities have established interaction with Russia on digitalization,” Tokayev said.

Also, according to him, a national drug distribution system will be introduced, legal recognition of document bases in electronic format.

“State services will work in accordance with the principle of proactivity, composability, that is, with a one-time solution of citizens' problems. Efficiency depends on the compatibility of national information systems, the seamless flow of information between neighbors. But integration needs additional development,” the president said.

The Head of State said that growing digital opportunities assume responsibility for their wise use. Development of IT is necessary, according to Tokayev, within the legal framework, taking into account the security and development of mankind.

“The release of part of the workforce in connection with new technologies is a difficult issue, a solution has not yet been found. But I am sure that new technologies will not deprive humanity of space,” Tokayev said.

The plenary session continued with a welcoming video message from the President of the World Economic Forum Børge Brende. Brende noted that this dialogue is taking place at a crucial moment as never before.

“We have a year ahead of us that we hope will bring recovery to the entire planet. The steps we are taking so far determine whether we will emerge from the pandemic stronger than we entered it,” he said.

The World Bank predicts economic growth in Europe and Central Asia will be 3% this year, after a projected 3% fall last year. It is possible to make sure that this growth will be sustainable and fair only if business and the Government work together. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are key to ensuring that the foundations of our economies are built around the goals of the 21st century and can help empower and empower our citizens.

“After a year of uncertainty, one thing is clear — digital communication is no longer a luxury. It is a prerequisite for investing in digital infrastructure in some parts of the world,” says Brende.

During the pandemic, every third place operates remotely and a million students were able to maintain access to education through online portals. Several industries have taken advantage of digital platforms and their benefits. However, there was a digital divide during the pandemic. Currently, 3.6 billion people in the world are offline due to expensive internet access.

“Without access to the Internet, a breakthrough in the economy is impossible!” Brende stressed.

In Central Asia, according to UN estimates, 73% of people use the Internet. This, according to Brende, is a promising figure. High-speed internet access is often limited in Central Asia and is expensive. While in Kazakhstan about 80% of the population use the Internet, in other regions this figure drops to 20%.

“I am encouraged by the already undertaken and promising steps of Kazakhstan. I am quite optimistic about the dialogue taking place today. If we continue to come together — government, business, civil society, I am confident that we can shape a more digital, equitable and prosperous future. I hope that the Republic of Kazakhstan and Central Asia will play a very important role, including in digital transformation, which our world needs so badly,” Brende said.

Google Vice President Vint Cerf, who is considered the founder of the Internet, addressed the forum participants with a welcoming speech.

“Today the global paradigm has changed. Platforms that interact with each other provide innovations, computer technologies to solve problems of the XX and XXI centuries. The worldwide pandemic has shed light on the fact that the Internet, the use of mobile technologies and Internet offerings show the weakness of not everyone having the ability to access the Internet. I would like to draw your attention to the digital divide, access, equality, accessibility and ease of use of the Internet. Today's conference couldn't have happened without internet and broadband internet access. Using our experience, I can say that the use of technology is sometimes abused by different parties for their own purposes,” said Vint Cerf via video link.


Decisive measures were taken in Kazakhstan to increase digitalization in public sector — Mamin

Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin spoke about the coverage of Kazakhstanis with the Internet. The head of government noted the acceleration of the pace of digitalization in all spheres of the economy, he said that the coverage of the population with the Internet is 99%.

“The unprecedented acceleration of the pace of digitalization in all spheres of the economy and the life of the population is one of the most significant trends in the pandemic. The deep introduction of digital technologies has become one of the main mechanisms for the private sector to adapt to doing business in the face of social constraints, increased disruptions in production processes and transport flows. Accelerated introduction of digital solutions by state institutions was a response to the need to provide the population with public services in conditions of a limited opportunity for physical presence. The widespread distribution of remote forms of work and education has made it possible to stabilize the functions of society and prevent a collapse in the level of income and quality of life of the population. As a result, we have witnessed an unprecedented growth in digital economy,” said Mamin.

So, according to Gartner, spendings on IT technologies in 2020 exceeded $3.9 trillion. The cloud computing market has grown by more than 20%, to $266 billion. Taking into account the sharply accelerated dynamics, by 2023 the indicator will reach $623.3 billion.

At the same time, the pace of digitalization in the world was very uneven, which strengthened the UN regularly announced and WEF fears that a "technology gap" is emerging between developed and developing countries.

“I am pleased to note that in the context of the pandemic, the economy of Kazakhstan has shown a high level of resilience, which is largely due to the growing penetration of digital solutions into all areas of the public and private sectors. Despite obvious limitations, we accelerated our efforts to improve the availability and quality of digital infrastructure. In 2020, a PPP project for the construction of 20 thousand fiber-optic communication lines was completed. More than 1,000 mobile base stations have been installed, which has significantly reduced the level of technological inequality in the regions. As a result, the coverage of the population of Kazakhstan with the Internet today is 99%,” the head of government stressed.

According to him, taking into account the new challenges and risks in Kazakhstan, decisive measures were taken to increase the level of digitalization in the public sector, the opportunity for citizens to remotely obtain an electronic digital signature (EDS) through remote identification by biometrics of a person was realized. Projects such as cloud workflow, mobile workplaces, online approaches to HR administration are being actively implemented, which made it possible to increase the efficiency and stability of the provision of public services to the population and reduce the need for the physical presence of citizens.

The availability of digital infrastructure has become the most important factor in the effectiveness of government support measures during a pandemic. 6.5 million citizens received social benefits without the need to contact government agencies.

“In general, the share of public services available online was increased to 93%. This progress has found recognition among international institutions. In 2020, Kazakhstan ranked 29th among 193 countries in the UN ranking in terms of e-government development, having moved up 10 positions. Significant advances in digital adoption have been reported in the private sector. The volume of e-commerce in the structure of retail trade in the past year increased almost 3 times — from 3.8% to 9.7%. The volume of non-cash transactions of the population increased 2.5 times, from 14.1 trillion tenge. up to 35.3 trillion tenge,’’ said the prime minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin.

Two years ago, the Astana Hub international technology park of IT startups was opened in Kazakhstan. Alem IT school of programming operates on its basis today, using advanced approaches and teaching methods. Taking into account the positive experience over the past year, four more similar innovative educational institutions were opened, which are capable of preparing more than 1,000 specialists per year.

In 2019, Astana IT University was opened in Almaty, which, together with the world's leading universities and industrial partners, implemented the Digital University intelligent system based on the concept of lifelong learning.

On the basis of the Astana International Financial Center, together with Qwazar, the QWANT programming school was launched, where 250 Kazakhstani and international specialists are currently studying.

In 2020, on the basis of the AIFC, together with the World Economic Forum, the Affiliated Center of the 4th Industrial Revolution was launched, the purpose of which will, among other things, be the development of advanced regulatory standards in the field of innovation.

“We intend to continue to increase the rate of penetration of digitalization into all spheres of life of Kazakhstanis. The Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered that the current year pass under the sign of effective digitalization of our state. Today we are already working on the deep integration of the principles of big data into the work of government agencies. The collection and processing of data within the framework of the data-driven government concept will become a factor in improving the quality of public services at all stages, from development to monitoring performance. A fundamentally new approach to the transition from a ‘patchwork’ to an integrated system for collecting and analyzing information will become an important step towards the subsequent integration of artificial intelligence into all spheres of life of the population and the economy,’’ said Mamin.

Work on further accelerated development of digital infrastructure will continue. Over the next 5 years, all regional centers and cities of republican significance will be provided with 5G coverage. Investments in the field of data processing and storage will increase 6 times — from 82 billion to 500 billion tenge. The share of e-commerce will be doubled.

More than 1,000 innovative companies will be created through the measures to support business in the digital industry, which will lead to an increase in ICT exports by more than 25 times.

According to the prime minister of Kazakhstan, about 100 thousand new jobs will be created in the IT industry, which will help form a critical mass and launch multiplier effects in all sectors of the economy.

“Our competitiveness for decades to come will depend on the success of our efforts to prevent a technological gap both at the level of national economies and at the level of the entire EAEU space. As part of the chairmanship in the bodies of the Union, Kazakhstan will make every effort to fully realize the potential of digitalization of the EAEU single market, build relationships between the competitive advantages of our economies, exchange experience and promote innovations. We must renew and strengthen joint approaches to the development and implementation of initiatives within the Digital Agenda of our Union, taking into account the challenges and opportunities of the new economic reality. Harmonization of work on digital transformation is the key to enhancing the competitiveness of our economies and raising the standard of living of citizens,” concluded Head of Government Mamin.


Countries that create and develop high technologies occupy leading positions in international arena — Nikol Pashinyan

Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan noted that the development of high technologies plays a decisive role in increasing the competitiveness, security and living standards of the population of the state.

“Digitalization, innovation and the latest technologies are considered by the Government of Armenia as the most important tool for creating an effective and representative system of public administration, a favorable business environment and ensuring progressive economic growth. The high-tech industry is the fastest growing industry in our economy. In 2020, the turnover of IT companies in Armenia amounted to more than $400 million compared to the previous year, it grew by about 20%. In 2020, the number of employees in this area has grown by 22%. At the moment, more than 1200 operating IT companies are registered in our country, significant tax benefits are provided for them,” the prime minister of Armenia said.

The pandemic, as Pashinyan emphasized, posed extremely difficult tasks for society, business and the state; they had to be solved in conditions of quarantine or a full-fledged lockdown. The need to work in such an environment has led to a new management culture and widespread use of digital technologies.

“In Armenia, we used digital technologies, electronic document management and electronic government tools. Through the use of appropriate technologies, social groups in need of support were identified with a high degree of accuracy. We provide for the implementation and development of government data policy, electronic services, e-government systems, coordination of digital processes, creation of common standards and digital environment. The government encourages society to use electronic tools that promote the use of digital technologies in the private sector of the economy,” Pashinyan added.

According to the head of the government of Armenia, the current process of digitalization in the country is carried out taking into account the existence of a common digital agenda of the EAEU. A platform for interaction between databases is being created, which optimizes the processes of data exchange between systems and the digitalization of a large number of public services.

“I am very pleased to note that the countries of the Union were able to use digital technologies to overcome some of the problems that have arisen due to the pandemic. We are talking about the digital platform ‘Traveling without Covid-19,' which since Feb. 1, in fact, has restored the free movement of citizens between Armenia, Russia and Belarus. Armenia from the very beginning supported the project of the EDB Digital Initiatives Fund, and we are grateful to our colleagues from the Fund and from the governments of Russia and Belarus for their joint active work within the framework of this project,” Pashinyan said.

It is necessary to actively move towards the implementation of other joint digital projects, using the capabilities of supranational institutions and development institutions. In addition to implementing joint projects, we need to work towards scaling up existing successful solutions.

“Our goal should be a full-fledged and all-encompassing digitalization of services provided to citizens by the state. To do this, you need to use the entire range of electronic services — mobile phones, network services, cloud technologies, and so on. We must strive to ensure that the borders between the EAEU states disappear at the digital level, and that existing restrictions are reduced to a minimum. The opportunities that digitalization provides can be used to improve the efficiency of freedom of movement of labor. The corresponding mobile application can collect in a ‘single window’ all information about workplaces throughout the EAEU, make it possible to fill out and submit all the necessary documents to obtain the selected job," Pashinyan summed up.


New technologies are changing the structure of the world economy — Golovchenko

Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Roman Golovchenko, speaking about digitalization, noted that the process of integrating digital technologies into all aspects of activity today is a key condition for progress, as well as new technologies are changing the structure of the world economy.

In his opinion, on the one hand, this requires fundamental changes in technology, culture and principles of creating new services, and on the other hand, it expands the window of opportunity to enter new frontiers.

As Golovchenko himself stated, for the Republic of Belarus, the priority of digital transformation is determined both on the external and internal contours of state policy. Singling out this area as a priority, they managed to create an infrastructure reserve, which is characterized by the following indicators:

  • the number of users of wireless broadband Internet access exceeded 95 units per 100 inhabitants of the country;
  • fiber-optic communication lines are laid to all settlements with the number of households from 100 and more;
  • in terms of equipping buildings with optical fiber, Belarus occupies a leading position in Europe;
  • Fourth generation (4G) cellular services in Belarus cover the territory where almost 90% of the population of the republic live.

The result of this work was the 32nd place in the rating of the International Telecommunication Union for the development of information and communication technologies. This, according to the Belarusian side, is the best indicator among the CIS countries.

In addition, the largest IT cluster in Eastern Europe, the High Technology Park, has been operating in Belarus for a long time. In 2020, its exports exceeded $2.5 billion, which is more than 20% of all exports of services in Belarus.

“The situation with the pandemic has become a new challenge for the whole world. Digital technologies have become one of the most effective ways to minimize it. We have successfully worked out and got an impetus for this distance learning mechanisms, have come into common use of remote work schemes in offices, tested approaches to online meetings, negotiations, forums,” the prime minister of Belarus said.

Against this background, the project of the Eurasian Development Bank — Travel without COVID-19 — stands out as the first digital project implemented within the EAEU, created in the interests of the population.

At the same time, he noted the low results of the work done on the other projects of the EAEU digital agenda.

“Implementation of the digital agenda does not lead to the development of national segments, paying more attention to the creation of centralized services, which, in our opinion, can lead to imbalances in data ownership,” added the Prime Minister of Belarus Golovchenko.

In his opinion, an initiative at the highest level is needed to eliminate this situation. Objectives should be set actively, implementers should be identified and effective control should be exercised. The correct setting of tasks, the development of clear rules and information architecture are also important.

He cited as an example the integrated information system of the Union. Thus, in Belarus a decision was made to create a national system of electronic passports for vehicles, which was created within six months. At the same time, within the framework of the EAEU, it is planned to prepare an integrated information system for the exchange of electronic passports between countries not earlier than in a year and a half.

The second example is the implementation of the EAEU digital transport corridors project. The head of the Government of Belarus recalled that a year ago in Almaty, a decision was made to start this project. However, during this time it has only been possible to determine the list of priority services to be created.

The dynamics of the implementation of digital projects in the EAEU depends on the activity and level of development of each country. And digital sovereignty is one of the key points in the integration processes. And the role of the Eurasian Economic Commission is to create conditions for the exchange of data between countries.

“The Republic of Belarus supports the joint implementation of digital projects. At the beginning of the new decade, we need to accumulate the existing achievements, scientific potential and ensure the transition to a new digital reality through the intensive digital development of countries,” he said.

The representative of the Belarusian side noted that digitalization should bring the real sector of the economy to a new level. The life of citizens should include advanced technologies in education, healthcare, and ensuring their safety.

He stressed with approval that all the EAEU member states are confidently moving along this path. Here, impressive projects are created that make the life of citizens better, make life easier for business, translate the format of relations between citizens and the state into electronic reality, thereby removing the obstacles of bureaucracy, minimizing communication between citizens and officials.

Speaking about the fact that any megalopolis, each city of the participating countries have the same tasks to control lighting, traffic flows, supply of electricity, water, heat, Roman Golovchenko expressed confidence that one of the joint projects within the Union could be the Smart City project. And all of the above tasks can be solved using multifunctional and powerful digital platforms.

“I propose the Eurasian Economic Commission to analyze the digitalization programs of the Union member states, because they have actually been formed and approved in our country. Such documents exist. It is necessary to analyze these programs, identify similar projects and make proposals for their joint implementation,” added the Prime Minister of Belarus.

Thus, it will be possible to obtain a powerful synergistic effect, both in terms of choosing the most effective solutions, and in reducing the time and cost of implementing such projects.


It is important for the Union to give impetus to the implementation of joint projects — Maripov

The whole world is now embracing digital transformation and the new source of long-term economic growth is these stimulating changes in a competitive environment at the global and regional levels. This was stated by the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Ulukbek Maripov.

According to him, active measures are being taken in Kyrgyzstan to create comfortable conditions for the development and conduct of business, as well as conditions for comfortable life of citizens associated with the introduction of digital technologies and the formation of an open digital society.

“To date, concrete steps have been taken to create a national environment for the digital transformation of all sectors of the economy, as well as a regulatory framework. Work is underway on digital transformation of tax and customs authorities, transfer of public services to electronic format and introduction of digital technologies in public administration,” the head of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic said.

Thus, in Kyrgyzstan, a basic information environment was built with a main focus on the social block, including education and health, which proved to be effective during a pandemic.

Also, the country plans to ensure maximum inclusiveness for persons with special needs, as well as launching economic projects, creating digital assets, conditions for the development of digital commerce and protecting security of personal data.

Full-scale use of the achievements of digital technologies is a key element of the state policy of Kyrgyzstan and passes through all national priorities of the country's socio-economic development.

“Undoubtedly, each of the countries of the Union has achieved certain results in digital transformation. Nevertheless, for the digital space of the Union, it is important for us to give impetus to the implementation of joint projects. To solve the problems of ensuring the free movement of goods, the development of transit potential, export and free movement of citizens, as well as the functioning of effective tools for fiscal monitoring through the formation of digital economy institutions and digital assets, the development of digital ecosystems, as well as building up global cooperation at different levels," Maripov expressed his opinion.

He also added that it would be advisable to form a permanent platform for dialogue between representatives of the digital markets industry of the Eurasian Economic Commission and members of the Union.


In conditions of self-isolation, it was digital solutions that became the connecting link of society — Mishustin

Chair of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin during the international forum "Digital Almaty 2021 - Digital Reboot: A Breakthrough into a New Reality" noted that the governments of the states had to make difficult decisions about closing borders, enterprises, social and educational institutions, on the introduction of a self-isolation regime, on restrictions on movement and contacts between people.

“We did everything to prevent the spread of infection, to protect the lives of our citizens. It was very important to continue to provide people with government services without putting them at risk of infection. In the conditions of self-isolation, it is digital solutions that have become the connecting link of society. It was a new challenge for the state, and we turned out to be ready for it,” Mishustin said.

He also spoke about the new Travel without COVID-19 mobile application, which is already widely used in a number of EAEU countries.

According to the speaker, the COVID-19 Free Travel application will expand the tourist borders between countries in the future.

“Since Feb. 1, the Russian Federation has been using the COVID-19-Free Travel Application. I am confident that this application will also be applied in all countries and will strengthen ties between countries. Citizens of Russia, Armenia and Belarus have now switched to this service and are using it successfully,” Mikhail Mishustin said.

All you need to do is download the COVID-19 Free Travel app. After that, 72 hours before departure, a check is carried out in one of the indicated laboratories. If the test shows a negative result, the answer is reflected in the user's mobile application and confirmed by a QR code at the airport. Thus, a person can travel freely. Mikhail Mishustin also noted that the use of the new service for Kazakhstan would be another approach in the field of digitalization.

“The essence of the program is that based on a negative test result for coronavirus, citizens can travel by air to specific airports in the Russian Federation. I hope that in the near future the Republic of Kazakhstan will also join the use of this application,” Mikhail Mishustin noted.

He also expressed confidence that the creation of a digital platform in the EAEU would improve the efficiency of countries' work and create a solid support for the Union.

“The pandemic has not only accelerated digital transformation, but has exacerbated the associated strategic challenges and threats. Countries that do not have their own digital platforms run the risk of falling into information, political, economic dependence on other people's digital solutions. It is necessary to create conditions for transparent mutual trade, conduct a dialogue with the EU and continue to pair Eurasian integration with the Chinese initiative ‘One Belt. One way.’ All this is possible only on a single digital platform. The threat to the member states of the Union is not borne by common digital systems, but by their absence,” added Mishustin.

He noted that the EAEU should help the member countries of the Union develop their own common digital platform, while maintaining national sovereignty.

“The digital platform removes barriers to the trade market of countries within the Union. Only together can we effectively develop our economies. It is also necessary to resolve legal issues between the participating countries. It is necessary to create unified accounting systems for the identification of citizens and businesses,” the Chair of the Russian Government believes.

Mishustin also thanked the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin for the brilliant organization of the forum.


In the next two years, $2.5 billion will be attracted for development of digital infrastructure in Uzbekistan — Aripov

Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov noted that in modern conditions the high role of digitalization in ensuring the growth of national economies, modernization of industries and the development of the social sphere is indisputable. At the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Digital Uzbekistan Strategy was adopted, which provides for the implementation of over 280 projects of digital transformation of regions and sectors of the country's economy in the next two years.

“Our digital agenda provides for the solution of the following key tasks: providing fast and affordable Internet in settlements, expanding the scale of e-government development, continuing digital transformation in the banking sector, expanding digitalization in healthcare, training in information technology, developing the IT industry and digital entrepreneurship and others,” Aripov said.

In the next two years, $2.5 billion will be attracted for the development of digital infrastructure in Uzbekistan. In particular, it is planned to launch three new data centers — in Tashkent, Bukhara and Kokand, expand the fixed telecommunications network and modernize mobile communications.

In the short term, one of the priority tasks is to double the share of digital services in GDP. To achieve this goal, IT parks are being opened in Uzbekistan, and a number of tax benefits and preferences are provided to their residents.

“I am convinced that the implementation of the above priority tasks is impossible without close interaction with our partners and colleagues. In this regard, we are committed to active cooperation, exchange of experience and cooperation. Including through the expansion of dialogue and the implementation of joint IT projects, as well as participation in the formation of common digital approaches based on the best practices,” Aripov summed up his speech.


Digitalization during the pandemic has become a real mechanism of management activity and its applied role manifested itself in a different way — Myasnikovich

Chair of the EEC Board Mikhail Myasnikovich noted that the Almaty forum is an authoritative platform for discussing the most pressing issues of digitalization.

“Today we have really heard a lot of constructive ideas and proposals. I would like to express my gratitude to the Government of Kazakhstan and the leadership of the city of Almaty for organizing this event,’’ said Myasnikovich.

In his speech, he dwelled on some problems and ways to eliminate them.

First of all, he expressed the opinion that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed integration problems, requiring many problems to be accepted quickly and boldly. At the same time, digitalization became a real mechanism of management activity and its applied role manifested itself in a different way.

In this regard, the EAEU made decisions on the implementation of 89 general information system integration processes. So far, only 19 of them are connected. Decisions were made to improve the work on 48 general processes, technical projects and implementation rules were developed, most of which are in the testing phase.

“An updated target architecture of the integrated information system is being prepared. An equivalent active work is needed within the national systems of the EAEU member states, and there are many unsolved problems. I would be very grateful to the Prime Ministers and specialists for their readiness to connect to the EAEU and the positions of coupling,” said the head of the EEC Board.

He further recalled the strategy of Eurasian economic integration until 2025, approved on Dec. 11, 2020. It contains 11 key development areas and almost all of them are based on a digital platform.

One of the directions provides for the creation of the fundamental foundations of digital infrastructures and ecosystems. Such, for example, as a system of labeling and traceability of goods, the development of a cross-border space of trust, the development and approval of the concept of a geographically distributed digital platform of the Union, including national segments and integrated components, issues of digitalization and transformation in the field of intellectual property and many other relevant projects.

“We have a lot in the EAEU — 17.5 thousand joint ventures with partners in the Union. Especially a lot with Kazakhstan, about 10 thousand. There are 2,400 in Belarus. Their work with parent companies is impossible without IT. Commercial banks are the most successful in the SNPP countries,” added Myasnikovich.

He noted that the commission expects the activity of industrial and innovative companies in this activity.

“The President of Kazakhstan Tokayev, in his January address to the heads of the EAEU states, set industrial cooperation and digitalization as the key tasks for 2021. Among the priority and very responsible ones is the project initiated by the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin for logistics centers and corresponding communications. The Republic of Belarus, together with colleagues in the Union, proposed a full-fledged launch of ecosystems of digital transport corridors. We are now actively working on integrated approaches for their implementation. There is an intellectual potential, an industrial potential, in order to realize the most ambitious tasks,” said the head of the EEC Board.

Returning to the topic of industrial cooperation, Myasnikovich noted that the study of this issue by the commission showed the investment interest of the partner countries in the implementation of projects with a total estimated cost of about $200 billion. A significant part of the projects are integration in nature. Interesting initiatives were proposed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Roman Golovchenko, the First Vice Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Artem Novikov and others.

“We need to strengthen development institutions, create new enterprises and industries in order to produce highly liquid goods for the domestic market and for export,” said Myasnikovich.

The ideas of the forum, ways of solving urgent problems, are very interesting and important. You just need to competently, according to Myasnikovich, build priorities and tools for work. In this regard, he drew the participants' attention to the words of Russian President V. Putin about the need to develop and implement import substitution programs in the EAEU, including in high-tech industries.

Also Myasnikovich noted the proposals of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on the organization of barrier-free trade and equal conditions for business entities.

“I believe that the proposals of the forum participants will allow us to develop bold approaches to improve the competitiveness and complementarity of the economies of the EAEU member states, which will certainly strengthen our Eurasian integration,” Myasnikovich summed up.


Machkevitch: We invest money for the sole purpose of making the life of Kazakhstanis more comfortable

Chair of the Board of Directors of ERG Alexander Machkevitch spoke about ERG's intention to invest more than $2 billion in digitalization by 2025.

The company has three main areas of business. The first is cobalt, which is used for production today. The second important area is the creation of the Aitu digital ecosystem.

“When we created it, we were told that it was impossible to create a popular product in this market. But we have a rule — there is no word ‘impossible’ in our company's dictionary. And today the system is working, the products of the new digital ecosystem already cover more than 5 million people. The task of the ecosystem is to provide affordable and effective digital services for the residents of Kazakhstan,” Machkevitch said.

During the lockdown period, ERG's Digital team did a tremendous job. For two waves of strict quarantine through the quickly created service, Kazakhstanis have submitted 16 million applications for benefits.

“Our ecosystem is socially oriented. Now this is not even a business project, we are investing with the sole purpose of making the life of Kazakhstanis more convenient and better. There are many educational projects in the system, they improve the life of Kazakhstanis and open up new opportunities for self-development and growth of their well-being,” said Machkevitch.

The third task is the technologization of the company itself. Today, a universe of databases is beginning to be created, ranging from geological exploration to an intelligent quarry, from ore to robotic technology: dump trucks, drones, training processes, technological processes, and final delivery. Big data will work along the entire chain.

Also Machkevitch drew attention to some issues.

First. The fourth industrial revolution is impossible without fast internet. But communications giants only build fiber-optic links where there is traffic. Statistics are often optimistic, but regions often lack fast and stable internet. Therefore, it is necessary to raise the issue of liberalizing the market for access and construction of fiber-optic communications. It is necessary to raise the question of the possibility of private companies building both wired and wireless communications.

The next question is the data question.

Companies today invest huge amounts of money to preserve data. At the same time, the opposite process occurs — a closed circuit is created, which does not allow data exchange. Therefore, the issue of data law is ripe, which, on the one hand, will guarantee the safety of data, and on the other hand, motivate companies to exchange data.

“I put forward a proposal: to create an interstate laboratory of industrial data. For our part, we are ready to give all the data, all the information. If all the mining and metallurgical companies of the EAEU submitted their data to this laboratory, we would be able to track trends faster, exchange developments, and this would enable the entire EAEU array to move much faster and be much more competitive in comparison with the global giants. I am sure that the EAEU has a great future, a tremendous amount of work has been done, and I urge everyone present to work even faster, more integrated, even more efficiently!” Machkevitch summed up.


EDB can become the manager of all EAEU digital projects

After all the discussions, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin made a proposal to strengthen the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) Competence Center and transfer all digital projects of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member countries to it.

Askar Mamin emphasized that despite the dynamic development of digital projects, there is still "general dissatisfaction with how all this is developing in the EAEU.’’

“In order to give dynamics and impetus to the development of digital projects in the territory of the space, in order for us to ensure the competitiveness of our economies, to raise the quality of life of our population, incomes, I propose to strengthen the Competence Center, which we created at the Eurasian Development Bank. And in general, all proposals from businesses that have been received today should be transferred under the management of the Eurasian Development Bank and the mini-center of digital competencies, which we created by a joint decision some time ago,” Mamin said.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, in turn, said that Russia is ready to support this initiative.

“Since it will be impossible to create a platform without the Competence Center anyway, and we, of course, will accept all this taking into account the current regulations at the commissions. I think this excellent work, in our opinion, which was carried out by our colleagues, deserves that we look more deeply at all the processes. We would support such a Competence Center at the EDB,” the Russian prime minister said.

At the same time, according to the Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko, without solving five global digital problems in the EAEU, such as common identifiers of citizens and businesses, data protection, mutual recognition of electronic digital signatures and digital infrastructure, the implementation of digital projects is impossible.

“The very realization that it is necessary to resolve these issues will allow us to move forward. For each of these areas, it is necessary to build a plan-schedule of actions, how to reach the solution of each of these blocks and tasks. Full pairing is impossible without them. Therefore, this must be done. And the idea of ​​doing this on the platform of the EDB as a Center of Competence is very timely, because, as far as I know, work is underway to clarify the mandates of the bank and the strategy of the bank,” he concluded.

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