At the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai on February 25, it was noted that technologies such as 5G, cloud services and artificial intelligence have played an increasingly important role in manufacturing in recent years, accelerating the transition to smarter operations. According to the head of Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecommunications and electronics companies, “by 2025, 97% of large companies in the world will use artificial intelligence technology,” and “55% of China’s total GDP will come from digital economy”.
Currently, all countries are actively developing the digital economy, which provides competitive advantages in the modern world. Already today, the vast majority of professions require basic digital knowledge and skills. The digital economy opens up new possibilities for using technology to accomplish tasks better, faster, and often differently than before.
According to the World Bank, the digital economy is a system of economic, social and cultural relations based on the use of digital information and communication technologies. Its effectiveness is determined by a complex digital transformation that affects many areas, including government agencies, business companies, banks, the educational system, social services, etc. In each of these areas, digitalization provides its benefits and additional opportunities for life and work.
The steps taken by Turkmenistan to develop the digital economy are aimed at increasing the efficiency of production and management, increasing its contribution to the national GDP. The strategic goal is to bridge the digital divide both within the country and in the world, where the most developed large states or small but technocentric countries are leading in the digital race. For several years now, the country has been implementing the Concept for the Development of the Digital Economy for 2019-2025, which defines the goals, objectives and mechanisms for using information technologies and the expected results of digital transformation. To solve priority tasks in the field of digitalization, the Center for Digital Systems was created.
Turkmenistan has adopted the Laws “On Electronic Document, Electronic Document Management and Digital Services”, “On Cybersecurity”, as well as a number of documents regulating the creation of an electronic document management system and Internet websites in ministries and sectoral departments. Local authorities, educational institutions, various services that provide various services to the Turkmen people have their own digital portals and sites. To expand the range of electronic services – banking, transport, trade, utilities, etc. – all new digital services are being launched.
The business company “Sanly çözgüt – IT meýdança”, created on the basis of the Institute of Telecommunications and Informatics, accepts orders for the implementation of digital systems and launches them into production. Particular attention is paid to investing in digital infrastructure, creating and supporting the development of domestic software, training young IT specialists and raising their professional level, ensuring cyber security.
In 2021, work on comprehensive digitalization in Turkmenistan significantly intensified. A new position of Deputy Prime Minister was introduced to the staff of the Cabinet of Ministers, responsible for the implementation of digital systems and technologies in government bodies and public organizations, in the fields of education and health care, the financial and economic complex, as well as for exercising control over this activity. The State Program for the Development of the Digital Economy of Turkmenistan for 2021-2025 is being prepared, as well as an Action Plan for its implementation. The new program involves the introduction of amendments and additions to the current legislative acts in the field of digitalization, solving problems related to the creation of the “Electronic government” system, improving digital education and healthcare, training, as well as the phased placement of digital services on a single portal of public services – e. gov.tm.
In the implementation of the “Electronic Government” system, Turkmenistan intends to cooperate with Estonian company Roxnet Solutions, which proposed to create “X-Road” – a system of interdepartmental electronic exchange “for digital government management” in the country. It is designed as a “decentralized” platform that combines various services, databases with a high encryption standard. It also includes a Digital Signature Registration and Verification Center.
According to Estonian specialists, a unified census system and a system of embedded identification codes for legal entities and individuals, personal digital identification will contribute to the development of the digital economy and the improvement of the systemic digitalization of Turkmenistan. Acceleration of work on the creation of an automated system for the electronic database of public administration bodies, which is planned to be created by December 2022, will ensure the effective functioning of the “Electronic Government” system.
New steps are being taken to develop e-commerce not only within the country, but also to promote traditional Turkmen export goods on world trading platforms. For example, to create a platform for electronic trade in textile products, an electronic database is being developed, which provides for the placement of relevant information about textile brands, marketing services, electronic registration of orders for the purchase of various textile products manufactured in the country, etc. At the first stage of this project, it is planned to organize delivery of orders for textile products in the country, and in the future – also abroad. The electronic trading platform will be equipped with special software. In the future, it is planned to establish interaction with global virtual trading platforms and with domestic information service resources and trading platforms.
Since February 2021, Turkmenistan has significantly reduced tariffs for Internet services for customers of the telecommunication company “Turkmentelecom”, which makes it possible to expand access to information resources of the global network not only for users in cities, but also in rural areas. This is also facilitated by ongoing projects for the development of telecommunications and the timely provision of broadband and high-speed communication networks to settlements in all regions and, first of all, in rural areas. Affordable broadband Internet creates an opportunity for further promotion of distance education and telemedicine in the country.