The countries of Central Asia and in SPECA are just beginning to view digital transformation from the perspective not only of the economy and business, but also of the social and cultural values that should form the basis of the Information Society. Bishkek Declaration of SPECA countries highlighted the need to “Strengthen Regional Cooperation to support Socioeconomic Recovery in the Wake of COVID-19” on 20 November 2020.
As a response, ESCAP Secretariat jointly with Ministry of Digital Development and Aerospace Industry of Republic of Kazakhstan undertook the new research on scenarios of establishment of the Digital Solutions Center for Sustainable Development in CA as well as developed the vision and the main elements of the draft strategy on “Central Asia as a Platform”.
The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan (MDDIAI) and ESCAP undersigned on 20 April 2021 scope areas of joint interventions and guide activities. This research is supported by a RECI (DA 11th Tranche) project entitled: “Addressing the transboundary dimensions of the 2030 Agenda through regional economic cooperation and integration (RECI) in Asia and the Pacific,” which started in 2018 and will be completed in December 2021.
The objective of the research is to assess digital maturity: digital connectivity, infrastructure and, transformation, with a focus on five Central Asian countries and Mongolia. It includes:
(1) assessment of current national policy, flagship initiatives and strategies, regulatory framework (rules and regulations) and institutional capacities on digital connectivity, infrastructure, and digital transformation of target countries,
(2) analysis of key relevant programs, and initiatives in the areas of digital connectivity, infrastructure in transformation.
Based on the above analysis a strategy with policy recommendations and actions for promoting digital connectivity, infrastructure, and transformation in Central Asia was developed.
The EGM will have an exchange of views on the subregional roadmap for establishment of the Digital Solutions Center for North and Central Asia for Sustainable Development. The outcomes of the meeting will be further presented at the SPECA GC and EF on 17-18 November 2021 and further at the Digital Almaty Forum in February 2022. The recommendation of the EGM would contribute to the development of the project proposals and would raise funds to the regional interventions.