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Digital Transformation as a Driver of State Development
23 October 2019
16:30—18:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russia is ready to share digital technologies with African countries

On the one hand, we are ready to support Russian companies in their entering the African market in every possible way, and, of course, we are open to all our African colleagues and ready to be a single window that will help find partners and products in Russian companies — Konstantin Noskov, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

Starting from 2007, we have been creating various programmes and educational platforms for children and adults, as well as master's courses. Today, 150 people graduate in machine learning and data science at Yandex. This is a very large number <...> Today, Yandex has created several platforms for schools. For example, it is indeed 800 thousand children that use Yandex.Uchebnik [coursebook, – Tr.] platform for their studies. It is installed in 14 thousand schools — Tigran Khudaverdyan, Managing Director, Yandex.

Russia is among the world’s digitalization leaders

Russia is a world leader in public services if we take the share of the population getting e-services. Russia is also one of the leading countries in when it comes to introducing biometrics for people identification. Russia also has a comprehensive programme for National Projects, including the Digital Economy. Under the Digital Economy federal national programme, the following is being created: implementation of the government architecture as a platform, super services, biometric tools, as well as tools to provide and improve the quality of e-services — Evgeny Radashkevich, Deputy Director General for Special Projects, Voskhod Scientific Research Institute.

Today, 90 million people in Russia, which is over 60% of the country's population, already use the system of public e-services. Last year, Moscow took the first place in the United Nations global rating on digital services. The electronic systems of public procurement, state accounting, and electronic budgeting now cover 100% of country’s government institutions. That means Russia can be legitimately called one of the world’s leaders in digital development — Andrey Belozerov, President, NGO Smart Cities.

African countries are interest in developing digital technologies

Digital literacy and industry-specific skills are still not well developed in our country. And we are looking for any opportunity to partner with any of you who are gathered here today <...> And it should also be noted that this is not just a matter of providing space for investment, but also we are offering certain advantages, certain incentives for start-ups, for expanding business in Rwanda. <...> I am also happy to say that if you come to Rwanda, starting your own business will take 6 hours — Claudette Irere, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Rwanda.

We have come a long way over the last 10 years. In fact, we have created an entire environment. We have worked on both politicians and strategies. We have been looking for talents, improving services and products, and developing infrastructure and tools. <...> We have done a lot in recent years, and even developed a digitalization programme, and we have brought in thousands of young professionals and engineers — Francois Guibert, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Development Board of the Republic of Mauritius.

ISSUES
Africans have a limited access to information technologies and education

South Africa is absolutely open for investment, not because it is a beautiful continent, but because we are a continent where most people do not have mobile phones like your people do. We do not have such a wide access to the Internet. Most people do not even have access to education that matches market conditions. But the most important thing is that we are a continent where people are full of enthusiasm and ready to develop and integrate Africa into the world. <...> South Africa is predominantly a rural country that needs to invest in the technology that we need to spread so that our people can use the same services that are now being used in different countries — H.E. Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies of the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

Digital transformation – at least for now – is happening at the expense of the people who make it. And there must be people who change, who create and create, who transform companies, businesses and states. It is not enough to find these people – it must be an ecosystem in the country. There has to be a pot where different talented people, engineers, programmers, managers, people who live with the idea of digitalization are brewing. First of all, we need to think about this — Tigran Khudaverdyan, Managing Director, Yandex.

SOLUTIONS
Using Russian experience in Africa

Of course, we are talking about cyber security issues. <...> Russia has a clearly high reputation here, and we are ready to offer these solutions to our African partners. Various countries are now interested in Russian results in educational services and distance learning, which is now well developed in Russia. There are also information products that help us to manage our services, including school education. Many distance learning courses have been developed. And this is the product that, in my opinion, is very important and interesting for African countries, because it covers the gap between children who live in remote communities, villages, and children from the city who have access to the best teachers. In addition to the products that the government buys, we also promote B2B, B2C products — Konstantin Noskov, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

The Russian Federation could bring its technologies to Africa and, in particular, to the Congo. <...> The experience that Russia has gained can be very useful for our country in the process of digitalization, so that we can sort out the postal communications — Leon Juste Ibombo, Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and the Digital Economy of the Republic of the Congo.

The use of the Russian experience can help our African partners <...> overcome growing pains and immediately move up the digital growth ladder, which will eventually lead to improved quality of government services and improved quality of life for the people — Evgeny Radashkevich, Deputy Director General for Special Projects, Voskhod Scientific Research Institute.

Developers of state-of-the-art technologies strive to make them in a such way that they could stay in control. <...> And in this sense, Russia can provide very interesting and competitive offers. <...> We are ready not just to give the technology to use it, as the United States of America, Europe or China, per say, do. And we are ready to transfer this technology, i.e. to train personnel, to transfer the source codes, the architecture and to teach how to further influence this technology. It means it will be the kind of knowledge that the country can support itself — Natalya Kaspersky, President of InfoWatch.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS