Analysis: Uzbekistan towards Digital Transformation

By Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director,  Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future, Islamabad.
In the era of rapid innovation development and great change, the digital economy and its many advanced technologies are rapidly entering in daily life. Uzbekistan has adopted digital transformation as part of its reform agenda. Uzbekistan prioritized digitalization and development of information-communication technologies (ICT) yet in the early 2000s. Digital transformation has the potential to further modernize Uzbekistan’s society and integrate the national economy into the global processes

Uzbekistan has been implementing an integrated program of National Information and Communication System Development 2013-2020, the National Action Strategy on Five Priority Development Areas 2017-2021, the “Digital Uzbekistan – 2030” Strategy and the latest the Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026. Uzbekistan government’s programmes for digital transformation elaborated its adopted Digital Uzbekistan 2030 Strategy, measures to improve digital governance, and promotion of artificial intelligence technologies in Uzbekistan.

The Digital Uzbekistan Strategy sets out five priority areas for development: Digital infrastructure; e-Government; Digital economy; National IT sector; and IT education. Certainly, in the context of the global pandemic and in general digital technology and services play a central role in recovering from the pandemic and also building resilient economies. Uzbekistan recognized the power of digitalization in transforming society. More than 400 information systems, electronic services, and other software products in various areas of socio-economic development are being carried out.  Works on 280 digital transformation projects in the regions and sectors of the country’s economy are ongoing.

It is planned to attract about $2.5 billion for the development of digital infrastructure, launch three large new data centres, as well as further expansion of the fixed telecommunications network and modernization of the mobile communication network. During 2020-2022, it is planned to attract investments of $498.1 million in information technology and communications. Uzbekistan has achieved remarkable results in the sphere of digitalization and ICT development, especially, in the provision of digital public services. Moreover, the digital and IT infrastructure of the country has remarkably improved, and a considerable amount of resources were invested which built solid foundations for a better ecosystem of ICT.

In addition, since the creation of IT parks in Uzbekistan, the industry’s export volume has grown 50 times. The number of park residents increased from 147 to 500, more than 300 new companies were opened, and highly paid jobs have been created. The expansion of fibre-optic communication lines in the country has been remarkably expanding since 2017. The total number of Internet users in Uzbekistan reached.  27.2 million and public service on e-government platforms reached 307. In the field of aviation, the biggest step is the digitalization of the airport and Uzbekistan airways, complete digitalization of control. All of this offers great opportunities for partnership. Digitalization of urban planning and construction, and development of cities in accordance with the concept of “Smart City” has been prioritized.

The Strategy ensures the provision of high-quality digital services to the population, reduces corruption, increases the level of citizen involvement in government decision-making processes, and modernizes the system of higher and secondary education in order to ensure the competitiveness of citizens not only within the country but also in the regional and global labour markets. It also lines up with the national goals and objectives in the field of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for the period up to 2030.

Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026:
The Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026 which has been adopted on January 28, 2022, covers seven priority areas of further reforms regarding good governance, public administration, the rule of law, economic development, social policy, spiritual enlightenment, security as well as an open, pragmatic and active foreign policy. Digitalization of several important spheres such as public services both at central and local levels by improving “e-government”; the judicial system; law enforcement; the traffic control system; healthcare system; social services as well as social protection, banking and agriculture sectors and other main spheres of the national economy have been targeted in the new Development Strategy.

Uzbekistan’s Government is advancing digitalization in a more inclusive and holistic manner. Therefore, expanded digitalization and digital transformation are the main priorities for   Uzbekistan. For the last decade, Turning to digital technology has led to the development of networks and high-quality connections. As a result, it is possible to exchange and collect large amounts of data, which in turn enables us to process, predict, make informed decisions, and benefit in a variety of ways.


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