Information technology (IT) permeates every facet of Uzbekistan’s life. Progress in various domains and a positive impact on the quality of life depend on the evolution of this sector.
Consequently, significant efforts have been invested in recent years to augment the IT infrastructure and professional education. IT services have observed noteworthy growth in both quality and quantity thanks to the policy of President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
IT parks currently employ over 11,000 young individuals. The strong foundation for the industry’s future is being established by the youth educated via the One Million Programmers project.
Some complexities and specifics of the industry development
However, certain challenges and untapped potentials persist. Specifically, the coverage of fiber-optic Internet and Internet speed in the regions are less than desirable. Regarding IT services’ geographical distribution, 90 percent are concentrated in Tashkent, leaving regions like Karakalpakstan, Andijan, and Surkhandarya underserved.
Numerous ministries and agencies must rely on obsolete, untrustworthy, and non-integrated information systems. Several other defects were highlighted, reinforcing the push for digitalization across all sectors and regions.
The newly minted Development Strategy aims to augment the volume of IT services by 2.5 times and increase the industry exports to $500 million. The State Head underscored the necessity of transforming Uzbekistan into a regional IT hub. The goal was to draw more companies into IT parks and organize remote service centers. This is expected to generate over 5,000 well-paying jobs for the youth.
The progress of projects under the Digital Uzbekistan 2030 program was also reviewed. The Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications was charged with integrating other services into the Unified Portal.
Mobile apps for an additional 50 services will be developed, such as pension registration, acquisition of personal certificates, and insurance. This is expected to raise the online user base of public services to 4 million.
Looking to the future of Uzbekistan
Directives were given to evolve JSC Uzbektelecom into a high-tech company capable of exporting quality services and securing an international rating. Also, a directive was given to thoroughly examine the information systems of all ministries and agencies and take appropriate action.
Another key area of focus is the promotion of science and education. Presently, the digital economy demands an additional 12,000 highly qualified experts. Hence, a proposal was put forth to transform the TUIT into a scientific and educational cluster and establish a contemporary IT Park University.
In conclusion, the pursuit of digital transformation in Uzbekistan is a monumental task, but the concerted efforts of the government and private sector give cause for optimism. The aspiration to be a regional IT hub and the commitment to training the future workforce demonstrate forward-thinking leadership.
The path forward will require consistent investment and strategic planning, including addressing challenges like geographical service distribution and updating outdated information systems.
Uzbekistan is laying the groundwork for a digital future that can bring myriad economic and societal benefits by fostering innovation, promoting education, and enhancing IT services. The goal is not just progress but inclusive progress, ensuring that the advantages of the digital age are accessible to all.