Kazakhstan has very good prospects for digital economy development - Liam Maxwell
17 May 2018 19:54

Kazakhstan has very good prospects for digital economy development - Liam Maxwell

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - Liam Maxwell, UK Chief Technology Officer at Government Digital Service, sat down with Kazinform correspondent on the sidelines of the Astana Economic Forum 2018: Global Challenges Summit on Thursday to talk about the prospects for development of digital economy in Kazakhstan and other thing, Kazinform reports.

Mr. Maxwell, how do you estimate present-day development of technologies worldwide? What are the differences from country to country and what, in your opinion, causes them?

The primary changes we see at the moment are the growth of the digital economy in forming more and more of the components of national economy. So, in the United Kingdom, it is about 15 percent of our economy. The growth is twice as fast as the rest of our economy. So, we see digital economy right at the heart of the growth and prosperity of our country. And we see that lots of other countries as well if you look at pace like South Korea or even smaller countries like Estonia and New Zealand that is where huge changes are happening because people are able to start using technologies quickly, simply, and more effectively. And right at the heart of that is a strong and clear infrastructure which enables people to build technologies upon that, and that is one of the reasons why we are really interested here in Kazakhstan, in what you are building.

Please, share your thoughts on Kazakhstan's position in the global technological development. Is Kazakhstan going in the right direction in terms of digitalization?

Most governments are finding it very difficult to deal with the digital disruption, and, interestingly, what we see in the world is that if you have a clear leadership behind the growth of your digital economy, and that is one of the things that Kazakhstan has got. So, you've got the chief digital officer and you've got the ability and it is one of the high-ranking chief digital officer - it is the deputy prime minister it means that you are in position to help drive change also throughout your economy. You also have got a very good digital infrastructure within the cities. (...) So, we think that in those circumstances you've got the ingredients for great success here. Two things we have found that helped us grow, which have been talent and ability to have great skill of people in place, and the work you are doing in establishing an IT university here is going to be transformative for your economy. And, also the approach to cybersecurity which will help build trust in the economy and help build trust in the digital economy.

What are the prospects for development of digital economy in Kazakhstan? What should our country focus more specifically on?

The prospects here are very good because you have a strong approach in terms of leadership, you identify the priority. You also have a good digital infrastructure in place in the cities. So, the next component you need is trust and talent. And, I think that work on cybersecurity would really help. And also the work has been done on building talent and building skills within the government.

How can Kazakhstan benefit from introducing new technologies and digitalizing its economy?

A couple of things. A digital government saves money and helps people have a government which works for them. And that is the fundamental change in the way that government work anywhere in the world because you stop building the government around the citizen and that is what digital helps you deliver. In terms of digital economy it delivers jobs and it delivers jobs throughout people's careers so as long as you continue to skill yourself, continue to get skills there will always be a job in the digital economy. In the UK, the average wage is 25,000-27,000 pounds per year, while in digital economy it is 41,000 pounds. So, you can earn much more money by working in the digital economy. So, the opportunity to create high-skill high-knowledge based economy here with a high-skill workforce is absolutely right in your fingertips. That's why it is so interesting to find what Kazakhstan is doing, in particular, with an IT University in Astana.

Thank you for the interview.

Photo: government.diginomica.com