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The International PLUS-Forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan” took place in Bishkek

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The Forum was attended by recognized experts in the banking and financial industry, representatives of regulators, IT sector, dozens of international innovative technology developers from the CIS countries and Europe, and many others.

The new platform offered a unique opportunity for communication and sharing experience in the field of digital technologies, as well as for business networking with key industry players. Speaking at the event, the delegates noted that Kyrgyzstan had definitely achieved certain success in digitalization, but there is still work to be done.

Opening the first session titled “Kyrgyzstan on the Way to a Modern Digital Society”, Anton Borozdin, Senior Director for Business Development, Central Asia, Visa, noted that Kyrgyzstan is demonstrating a galloping development driven by digital technologies. In his speech, Anton Borozdin analysed a number of projects being implemented by Visa in Kyrgyzstan today, including the Tap to Phone service provided by 3 local banks already.

He also spoke about the real-time payment technology launched by Visa in Kazakhstan in collaboration with the Bukhta company and planned for further promotion in Kyrgyzstan, and phone remittance services rolled out by Visa in Central Asia.

The Forum also noted, that today's progress is still ahead of the potential of the state budget of Kyrgyzstan; the country lacks skilled specialists able to introduce digital technologies.

500 million soms are allocated from the budget annually. However, this is not enough, of course, because we set big goals. For example, we want to convert all state documentation into electronic format. Now state bodies issue more than 160 certificates, they also need to be converted into electronic format,” said Azamat Burzhuev, Head of Digital Development at the Administration of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Many speakers also noted that the International PLUS-Forum, held for the first time in Kyrgyzstan, would definitely become a new starting point in the development of digitalization.

Indira Sharshenova, Deputy Minister of Digital Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, shared her vision of the digitalization development in Kyrgyzstan. Financial technologies became the main topics of the forum. The Forum was attended by representatives of VISA, an international payment system, the Title Sponsor of the Forum. Of course, payment systems are also developing in Kyrgyzstan, but we should go beyond the territory of Kyrgyzstan, to the regional and global levels. And it's great that all these decisions were discussed at the Forum. PLUS-Forum is also a platform for our startups to find their partners,” the speaker noted.

About 70 key speakers spoke at the Forum in total. They touched upon various topics – from the development of e-government to the adoption of innovative solutions in retail and e-commerce – as well as many other issues.

For example, Deputy GR Director at Wildberries Pavel Polikarpov, shared the best practices of the online platform operation in Kyrgyzstan and informed about the possibilities of cooperation with local entrepreneurs:

We are developing the platform primarily for small businesses, and we are happy that more and more local entrepreneurs are launching their business and selling their products to other countries through Wildberries. More than six thousand local merchants are already registered on the platform. Products from Kyrgyzstan are in demand on the platform: in 2022, sales soared by 361% year-on-year, to grow to 10.7 billion rubles. We plan to further expand cooperation with entrepreneurs of Kyrgyzstan and are grateful to the representatives of the administration for their interaction and a favorable investment climate in the country,” the speaker noted.

The exhibition organized as part of the PLUS-Forum sparked great interest among the delegates. Over 20 various digital products and solutions were presented, with absolutely new ones among them.

At the Forum, Doskredo-Bank OJSC and the Bukhta company signed an agreement on e-money issuing. The document implementation will make it possible to fundamentally change the perception of salaries in Kyrgyzstan.

At the end of the PLUS-Forum, it was announced that the Steering Committee decided to hold “Digital Kyrgyzstan” annually on a permanent basis. As the first experience showed, the Central Asian region has a large-scale audience consisting of representatives of various business sectors and government agencies who are interested in this event, a lot of relevant topics and, of course, good experts who are ready to discuss them!