The Digital Bridge International Tech Forum held in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, on 24-25 October 2019, was attended by the leading members of the international IT community, technology experts, heads of IT companies, tech entrepreneurs, representatives of the public sector from around the world, and digital design professionals.
A message of greetings from SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov was read at the forum, whose participants also learned about the SCO's activities in the field of ICT and its vision of future ICT relations between the member states.
The message said, in part, that the Digital Bridge forum was becoming an effective regional venue for discussing current aspects of interaction in the field of ICT and a Eurasian digital platform for promoting digital transformation, e-government, smart cities, information security and new production technologies. Vladimir Norov noted that the digital transformation of the global economy was an actual trend, which calls for coordinating a code of the countries' responsible conduct on the internet and in the field of ICT.
"We see the growth and wide use of ICT in all spheres of human endeavour, including in our countries. The future will belong to those who learn to use the huge potential of the ICT industry more effectively than others. Therefore, the regional countries should adjust their education programmes to this goal and train personnel that will be capable of making a large contribution to the digital development of our economies," the SCO Secretary-General wrote in the message.
Aware of the importance of innovation and the digital economy as the main factors of medium- and long-term economic development, the SCO member states drafted the Concept for Cooperation between the SCO Member States in the Sphere of Digitalisation and Information and Communication Technologies at the initiative of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and adopted it at their summit in Bishkek in 2019.
E-commerce has a number of obvious and potential advantages, such as closer interaction within the framework of international industrial systems, broader market access, a wider market reach, increased domestic and market efficiency, as well as lower transaction costs. E-commerce can create jobs in the field of ICT and at companies that enhance their competitiveness through interactive marketing.
The SCO Secretary-General mentioned the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan concerning the establishment of an SCO pool of modern technology parks based on the Astana Hub, an international technology park of IT startups, plus the idea of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan regarding the drafting of an SCO cooperation programme in the field of cyber security and a system of regular meetings of the heads of SCO countries' agencies charged with the development of information technology.
In conclusion of his message, Vladimir Norov praised the achievements of the SCO member states in the field of ICT.
The representatives of government agencies from Kazakhstan and neighbouring countries answered IT professionals' questions about digitalisation and ICT advances in their countries. Panel sessions were held to discuss the best cooperation practices in the ICT sector and to exchange opinions between the state and the expert community.
"We have met here to discuss our digital projects with those who are helping us to implement them. Such meetings give an opportunity to IT companies to learn about government agencies' plans, offer their recommendations, join the preparation of technical documents and propose ready solutions for the industry," Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan Ablaykhan Ospanov said.
The Digital Health Astana panel was held to discuss the digitalisation of the healthcare industry in the G2G format. Taking part in the discussion were representatives from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Russia and international organisations, who pointed out the importance of the gradual digitalisation of the healthcare sector.
Several related events were held within the framework of the Digital Bridge forum, including the Next Tech Entrepreneur Forum, Digital Qazaqstan Forum, QazTech Forum, Astana Hub Battle and Astana Hub Awards.
The SCO member states were represented at the forum by Altynbek Ismailov, Director of the IT Park of Kyrgyzstan, and Abdulahad Kuchkarov, Deputy Director/Chief Innovation Officer at the IT Park of Uzbekistan, as well as other officials, who told the forum participants about the creation of IT parks in their countries.
The Astana Hub Battle was held within the framework of the Digital Bridge forum to choose and award the best young IT experts.