Almaty Hosts First SCO Digital Forum

The first SCO Digital Forum, bringing together IT and communication agencies from countries within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), was held in Almaty on February 1st. The forum is part of the three-day Digital Almaty 2024 event that began today. 

The SCO comprises China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. 

The forum was chaired by Kazakhstan’s minister of digital development, innovations and aerospace industry, Bagdat Musin. In his welcoming remarks Mr Musin said that “Kazakhstan has achieved significant success in the field of digitalization, GovTech, and IT development, confidently leading among the Central Asian countries.”

Mr Musin highlighted the successful Kazakhstani IT startups at the international techno-park Astana Hub. “The advantage and attractiveness of Astana Hub to international companies lie in visa and tax preferences, extraterritoriality, the possibility of online registration, and the launch of acceleration programs. Among the Central Asian [countries], Astana Hub [has become] the first partner of Google for Startups, within which a joint acceleration program ‘Silkway Accelerator’ was developed. Over the course of two years of collaboration, the result is a twofold increase in the number of graduate companies; these companies have already entered the markets of the Middle East, the USA, and Europe.”. 

Mr Musin proposed the creation of an alliance of IT parks in SCO countries to further grow innovative ecosystems, and to support startup projects and IT companies. 

Another area for cooperation could be the construction of fiber-optic communication lines. Utilizing Kazakhstan’s transit potential will provide significant advantages for SCO countries in connecting to the internet and improving connectivity across the Eurasian continent, Mr Musin said. He proposed building fiber-optic cables along the Russia-Kazakhstan-Iran route, with access to the Indian Ocean.


Times of Central Asia