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Digital Dialogue for Asia: Making Inroads into digital transformation, April 23 2018, Astana, Kazakhstan

When Apr 23, 2018
from 09:00 AM to 08:00 PM
Where Astana, Kazakhstan
Contact Name Sinead Mowlds
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The internet has dramatically transformed the nature of contemporary interactions. Today governments, businesses and citizens have all moved from analog to digital, increasingly engaging with the other online. Three important trends have emerged in this regard. First, states work closely together on reaping the full potential of the internet while combatting instability and terrorism online. States world-over look to expand governance online, using digital tools to deliver benefits to all people. Second, people leverage the internet to form digital communities and spearhead movements online resulting in real-time transformation offline. Third, businesses operate digitally – almost every company in the world moves data across borders and sequesters customers and crafts solutions designed for consumer markets based on digital interactions.

 

Communications, content and payments online will continue to rise in the coming years – cross-border bandwidth currently used has grown 45 times larger since 2005. Central Asia comprising of six states including Kazakhstan, however, has a unique socio-economic context with low density and vast hinterlands, making digital connectivity a common challenge. At the same time, Central Asia along with other regional states is one of the largest economies in the world - in 2014 their combined GDP amounted to USD 636 billion.

 

 

As ICTs continue to play an important role in global commerce, governments in Central Asia will have to reconcile their often complex public policy goals in the digital age – meeting the access imperative while securing devices, networks, identities and livelihoods.  To enable this, there is a need to create a forum convening policymakers and experts from the region to discuss and design policy goals and solutions for Central Asian economies. 

Recognizing this, ORF, India and the Central Asia Forum, University of Cambridge, propose to host a day-long forum, a Digital Dialogue for Central Asia, in Astana, Kazakhstan with experts from government, industry and civil society to ideate and create norms for digital economies in Central Asia. Broadly, the Digital Dialogue will address the following four themes – digital economy, cybersecurity, e-governance, e-education, smart cities, access and connectivity.  

The forum will consist of roundtables with 3-4 experts from each Central Asian country including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan with more representation from Kazakhstan. On the eve of the forum, an inaugural dinner will be organized hosting government officials from these countries to develop the policy priorities for a connected digital future for Central Asia and set the agenda for the forum.

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