The Eurasian Digital Forum. Plenary session “Prospects for the creation of the Unified Eurasian Digital Market: drivers and barriers”
The Minister of Communications and Informatization of the Republic of Belarus Sergei Popkov addressed the participants and guests of the forum with a welcoming speech. He noted the country’s special attitude to the problem of digital transformation of the economy and public administration.
“This topic is a priority on the agenda for all developed countries and international organizations, and is also included in the national priorities of the social and economic development of Belarus. The president outlined the course of further development, which is building an IT-country. The adoption of Decree No. 8 gave unprecedented rights to HTP residents, who will test the latest technologies of blockchain, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts, “said Sergey Popkov.
According to the speaker, in 2012 Belarus proposed to form a single trade and information space within the framework of the EEU, in 2013 introduced an initiative to harmonize the digital markets of the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU. Following this initiative, our country has become the coordinator of the digitization of trade, commerce, logistics, customs and transport corridors.
“We hope that the Eurasian Forum will become an annual and effective dialogue platform where business and expert communities and state bodies of the countries of the Eurasian continent will be able to discuss current issues of the formation and harmonization of the global digital market,” noted Sergei Popkov.
The presidium of the conference also included Karine Minasyan, Member of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board – Minister in charge of Internal Markets, Information Support, ICT, Daryn Tuyakov, Vice Minister of Information and Communications of Kazakhstan, Alexey Kozyrev, Vice Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, Kirill Rudy, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Belarus to the People’s Republic of China.
In addition, the heads of ministries and administrations of the CIS countries, ECE, leading international experts in the field of ICT, representatives of large technological companies spoke during the plenary session of the forum.
Among the issues discussed during the conference were the digital agenda of the EEU and its implementation, digitalization and digital transformation of the economy, electronic trade and commerce between the eastern and western countries.
The audience was most interested in the speech of Kirill Rudy, who had lived in the PRC for about eight years. The Belarusian diplomat started his report “IT in China: Not the First Impression” with the following: “If you want to see what IT will look like in Belarus in five years, believe me, there’s no need to go to China, you just have to see what happened in China five years ago”.
According to the speaker, today in China you can see the most state-of-the-art technologies. This country shows the future not only for developing countries, but also for the developed states.
“The first impression of a person who came to China in regard of the IT-sphere is quite contradictory, it can be polar,” the ambassador said. On the one hand, there’s an opinion, that in China everything is complicated and slow, censorship is all around, the websites and social networks are blocked, and there’s propaganda. On the other hand, we hear enthusiastic responses that everything is fast and thought out in this country, there are many IT-products and services. After these extremes, according to Kirill Rudy, comes the time for silence and reflection.
The speaker noted that China is a large and rapidly growing country. The main IT-technology here is big data, which is revealed in trade, bicycle-sharing, car-sharing, researches of artificial intelligence, public safety and public control system.
Kirill Rudy ended his report with a video, showing how the technologies work in everyday life (shopping with QR code, bike rental, etc.).
The conference also touched upon the issues on the current regulation in the sphere of the cryptocurrencies circulation, the future changes in the banking sphere and transport sector, and others.
The moderator of the plenary session was Dmitry Shedko, First Deputy Minister of Communications and Informatization of Belarus. “We are all well aware that the fundamental importance of digital transformation for the future of civilization is already evident to the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world. It is also obvious that even the most technologically advanced states that invest billions or tens of billions of dollars in the development of this sphere are today somewhat confused, because the speed and scale of changes and their impact on all spheres of society are truly colossal.”
The moderator noted that today the society faces various challenges, in particular how to combine new technologies with the legal system, how to develop them further on, what impact they will have on the business, life and mentality of mankind. He also expressed his hope for the cooperation of the EEU countries in the field of digitalization.
Digital transformation is an inevitable path for all countries. The only question is which way each country will choose, either to act alone and to compete with the others or to unite the common efforts for the realization of global goals.