According to UNCTAD studies, Kazakhstan is among the top 20 economies in terms of the growth rates of Internet and cellular phone users per 100 habitants. Over the last five years, the country has seen a quadrupling of the rate of mobile phone subscribers, and an almost tenfold rise in the proportion of Internet users.
Reflecting on some of these trends were participants at a conference titled “Connecting Kazakhstan,” taking place during the Fifth Astana Economic Forum, in Astana, Kazakhstan. Representing UNCTAD, Mr. Petko Draganov, Deputy Secretary-General, encouraged in his speech the Kazakhstan Government to continue creating environments that foster innovation and employ technology as a fundamental driver of the economic growth of the country.
Participants of the event praised the findings of UNCTAD’s latest Information Economy and Technology and Innovation Reports, and recognized the organization’s track record of accumulating experience from developing countries and emerging economies, and drawing on it to advise countries on best practices.
At present, UNCTAD is in the process of advising Kazakhstan on the implementation of the national Innovative Development Strategy, aimed at developing the country’s ICT sector in a way that promotes prosperity for all its people.
There are initiatives to take this cooperation further. The Government of Kazakhstan has shown an interest in using UNCTAD’s expertise and IT tools for promoting efficient e-government. In particular, the Chairman of the State Customs Committee, Mr.Mazhit Esenbaev, expressed interest in drawing on UNCTAD’s long-term experience in implementing ICT in the customs sector, through its ASYCUDA Programme.