Does Kazakhstan have analogue of "Silicon Valley"?

Does Kazakhstan have analogue of "Silicon Valley"?

16 February, 11:21 376 Astana
Does Kazakhstan have analogue of

Nursultan Nazarbayev, in his recent President`s special statement “Third modernization of Kazakhstan: global competitiveness" charged to the Government to create the analogue of "Silicon Valley" in Kazakhstan, which should become one of the drivers of the economy.


Transition to “digital rails”

The President charged to develop the communications and access to fiber-optic infrastructure. According to the President of the country the development of digital industry will provide the impetus to all other industries.

"An important condition for the formation of new industries is the support of innovations and the rapid putting them into production. I charge to the Government to create international Technopark IT startups on the basis of one of the objects of Expo 2017. It should be a platform to attract entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world. This requires appropriate infrastructure and conductive conditions, including tax incentives, simplified visa and labor regimes, "Kazakhstan President said in his special statement.

It is expected that IT start-ups will be also developed on the basis of the leading universities in the country- Nazarbayev University and Technopark “Alatau”.

How realistic is this project?

According to the Head of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan Shavkat Sabirov, there are a lot of examples of successful creation and functioning of such TechnoparkIT startups, and not all of them worked in the regime of "Silicon Valley".

"It seems to me that the head of State meant the transfer of Kazakhstan economy to "digital rails”. There was a program on reducing the digital inequality, so now we are talking about the digital economy and use of new industries, such as information security, for example. We actively use digital services on e-Government Portal, even don’t notice,” Shavkat Sabirov said.

As the head of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan said, we need not just to use, and actively participate in the creation of the digital economy. He recalled that there are many domestic software and information products in Kazakhstan created by the Kazakhstan companies.

"It is clear that the creation of the operating system doesn`t have the sense, there is technology, but we can make programs and implement them. And most importantly, if you only buy and never even try to do it, then nothing will happen. It is clear that we will "fill bumps ourselves”, make mistakes and correct them, but after some time any information handmade product will become not worse that foreign, Sh. Sabirov said.

It would be wrong to assume that the idea of creating of analogue in Kazakhstan "Silicon Valley" originated out of nowhere; they are “were on the air”.

For example, at the end of last year in the Republic of Kazakhstan the Startup contest was carried out. The project, presented by the "Park of innovation technologies» within the 5th Innovation Forum, was attended by 75 start-ups, 24 of them hit the short-list.

In the next round ten most successful innovative ideas were selected. The authors received financial support in the amount of 100,000 USD. In addition, they have been granted tax preferences for a special economic zone (SEZ) and cooperation with public institutions, national and international companies.

The aim of the project, according to the organizers, was to create an analogue of "Silicon Valley" in Kazakhstan and providing the most favorable conditions for the implementation of the start-up projects.

As stated by the Managing Director of innovative technology Park Sanzhar Kettebekov, all projects that pass through program Startup Kazakhstan were invested through international venture funds.

"We signed an agreement jointly with the Centre for the development of Almaty and Uber to create a development center of the transport execution. Uber have logistics products, the creation of development center, which involves the localization services startups on CIS, "Kettebekov said.

The Startup Project is implemented within the framework of 63rd step of Nation Plan - 100 concrete steps for implementation of five institutional reforms. Earlier it was reported that with the support of GPIIP and the Digital Kazakhstan program 500 start-up projects are planned to be started to 2020..

In the same direction-the creation of the Science Park- Nazarbayev University works. The creation of this park, on the idea of authors would unite the business and companies with the scientific area of the university.

Nazarbayev University has unique staff capacities: about 2,500 students study here, about 300 professors work, among which 90% are foreign specialists. The University creates a system of commercialization of scientific research, which will be implemented in the real economy.

Since 2015 on the basis of the country's leading University Science Park operates a, which will hire from 6,000 to 8,000 scientists. Here not only Nazarbayev University` s ideas are implemented, but also international projects, which will be useful for Kazakhstan. Already the innovative ideas are selected, including the production of medical equipment for operations on the heart diseases. Among other things, the implementation of own technologies can significantly reduce the price of such complex operations.

Which sectors of Kazakhstan's economy need to be digitalized for the first?

Many are interested in how long the technological modernization of the country might be and what sectors of the economy of Kazakhstan need to digitalized for the first?

"The modernization especially technological is the perpetual process. So there is no limit to perfection. And the question should stand not in time, but the technologies and tools for working in this direction. As you know, almost every sector of the economy of Kazakhstan actively uses multiple information systems and various databases and they have to be "technologically interconnected,” Sh. Sabirov said.

"Suddenly, I tried to submit a certificate from the portal of our electronic government to Kyrgyzstan. Our certificate was like a bomb for them. They looked for a long time and did not understand how an ordinary printed piece of paper can officially be used in the State. Understanding people admired by Kazakhstan and others demanded a "live" stamp and signature. Pride in our country blocked all problems of obtaining traditional certificate, Sh. Sabirov said.

According to the expert, great work in "digitizing" to be in the area of education and agriculture in Kazakhstan. And industrial enterprises and public authorities have been working with information technology for a long time. But new digital technology has to be brought to schools and to life in the village.

What dividends of the digital economy will our country expect?

"It is difficult to assess the dividends in this regard, it is not running of the factory production, and, but it is possible and necessary to assess. The impact will be indirect, but very crucial. As an example, how you can measure your saving time and nerves receiving in any CHS or online?

Although I do remember how much time and effort was spent to create them, and how much noise was about money?! Today, I do not know anyone who would be against e-Government porta?! I think, there are not such persons,” the Head of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan Shavkat Sabirov the said.

Experts agree that the main feature of the digital economy is that its benefits and dividends from all current and future results not only the citizens of Kazakhstan will receive, but also the whole world. Now modern civilization is moving toward a digital economy.