PLUS-Forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan” 2024. The state and business are open to innovation

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On February 28, 2024, the capital of Kyrgyzstan hosted, for the second time, the International PLUS-Forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan”, which is one of the most significant events for the Central Asian region. The total number of applicants wishing to participate in the event this year exceeded a record 1,650 people from 29 countries, up 40% compared to 2023!

The PLUS-Forum discussed the prospects for the state infrastructure digitalization and building a digital society, development of fintech, banking and payments business, improvement of information security, new horizons of cash circulation, banking self-service, e-Commerce and offline retail, artificial intelligence, Islamic finance, crypto business, Web 3.0. and other pressing issues facing the industry.


More than 30 largest global and regional companies became sponsors and partners of PLUS-Forum 2024:

• Title sponsor – Visa

• Diamond Sponsor – Positive Technologies

• Official Sponsor – Fido-Biznes

• Platinum Sponsors – and TONK Asia

The full list of partners and sponsors is available here.

The world's leading vendors from 29 countries, including Azerbaijan, Andorra, Armenia, Belarus, Great Britain, Denmark, Georgia, Ireland, Spain, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, China, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, UAE, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Serbia, USA, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Türkiye, Uzbekistan and the Czech Republic demonstrated their latest products, technologies and services at the large-scale exhibition. The exhibitors supplemented the demonstration with comprehensive information about successful cases and their plans for the near future.

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Akylbek Zhaparov, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan and Head of the Presidential Administration

Over 80 speakers made presentations at the Forum. Most of them concurred in the opinion that the second edition of the International PLUS-Forum in Kyrgyzstan definitely showed itself as a new starting point in the development of digitalization.

In recent years, the markets of Central Asian countries seem to be among the most promising ones. They are open to international interaction, cooperation and innovation in a variety of areas, including the financial services market and the retail sector. And Kyrgyzstan deserves special attention in this context. An electronic government has been formed in the republic, including a public services portal; the widest range of remote services are offered by both commercial and government agencies. And the adopted technologies place this market among the most innovative ones in the region.

Photo report from the PLUS-Forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan” 2024

In his welcome speech at the opening ceremony, Chairman of the Steering Committee Alexander Grizov drew attention of the audience to the fact that a number of key topics of the conference this year are being addressed for the first time. In particular, it was at “Digital Kyrgyzstan” 2024 that special emphasis was placed on the issues of cybersecurity, modern retail and digitalization of the civil engineering.

In his opening address, Co-chairman of the PLUS-Forum Steering Committee Konstantin Grizov emphasized that the Forum presented the latest cutting-edge solutions from leading international companies.

The floor was then given to Akylbek Zhaparov, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan and Head of the Presidential Administration, who offered a detailed view of the present and the future of digital transformation in Kyrgyzstan.

“By delivering digital technology and building an open digital society, we help businesses grow and make life more comfortable for our citizens,” he said.

He told the audience that Kyrgyzstan was expected to adopt its first Digital Code in 2024 as the legal groundwork for a digital breakthrough. The Code would consolidate all digital standards for the convenience of citizens, businesses and government agencies. It would ensure effective use of a consolidated document and eliminate the need for searching for appropriate regulations across multiple laws that could be contradictory or could use different terminology. Mr Zhaparov described this as “‘major surgery’ on the legal environment and a compulsory step to make sure that national laws do not stand in the way of innovative technology, particularly with regard to the policy pursued by Kyrgyzstan’s President Sadyr Zhaparov to speed up social and economic development.”

Mr Zhaparov said that the conditions requisite for digital transformation in Kyrgyzstan were in place, opening up opportunities for the further introduction of innovative technologies at government agencies, banks, fintech and retail. With digital technologies, Kyrgyzstan has doubled its GDP and tripled its budget in two years. Today, 80% of the economically active population has digital documents that can serve as a sort of assurance in the case of a natural disaster such as earthquake, when your smartphone is the only thing you can take with you when you have to leave your home in an emergency. In September 2023, Kyrgyzstan launched online registration of its motor vehicles, and on 27 February 2024 of its legal entities. Online registration for real estate is to be launched on 1 March 2024.

Mr Zhaparov said he was deeply interested in the development of AI in Kyrgyzstan, specifically for Kyrgyz language learning models, as well as in cybersecurity issues. Huge amounts of data in the national language are being digitised, and supercomputers are updated to create a Kyrgyz equivalent of ChatGPT. Kyrgyzstan intends to use government, private and sponsor funding to establish and operate a non-government Centre for Innovative Technologies, including AI and quantum computing.

As Mr Zhaparov said, Kyrgyzstan “has all the resources and the openness to innovative technologies to grow its GDP to the equivalent of 200 billion USD by 2030.”


‘And that’s where you can help us, dear participants. In that regard, we are absolutely open,’ said Mr Zhaparov as he addressed the PLUS-Forum audience.

In closing, he mentioned the efforts of his colleagues, Russian scientists, who had worked on the development of a stablecoin backed by gold or other natural resources as long as 10-20 years ago. Mr Zhaparov believes that today, at the time of transformation of the entire global financial system, the time for tools of that sort has really come. 

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As part of the conference, the Forum speakers and participants took part in thematic sessions that cover various aspects of the further development of Kyrgyzstan as a modern digital society, transformation of banking, fintech and retail.

Many impressive speaker presentations took place at the first session “Kyrgyzstan on its way to a modern digital society”. Klim Omelchenko, Deputy Minister of Digital Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, spoke about the progress of building a modern digital society in the country.

Azamat Burzhuev, Digital Development Manager, Administration of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, focused on GovTech and the organization of online registration of transport in the country.


Anton Borozdin, Visa Senior Director for Business Development in Central Asia, spoke about the future of digital payments.


Adilet Dubanaev, Deputy Chairman of the State Tax Service under the Ministry of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic, told the audience about the role and prospects of digitalization in the context of effective interaction with business.

Ilya Ivaninsky, Partner Expert at Yakov and Partners, in a report on the development of the digital economy in Central Asia as a whole and Kyrgyzstan in particular, noted that the presence of digital infrastructure stimulates the development of large digital businesses in various industries.


Aidos Zhumagulov, Councillor to Board Chairman, Freedom Finance Bank, Kazakhstan, informed how GovTech is changing standards in the financial market of Kazakhstan. He noted that GovTech allows creating a whole range of high-quality and very convenient services that can help both citizens and organizations. This allows faster processes of appraising apartments, registering cars, small and medium-sized businesses and much more.


Binur Zhalenov, Board Chairman, National Payment Corporation of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, presented a report titled “National Digital Financial Infrastructure of Kazakhstan.” Among the main topics, the speaker noted that digital financial infrastructure is the basis of digitalization at every stage of the financial and payment services delivery. Thus, the digital tenge project combines the properties of cash and non-cash tenge with the capabilities of blockchain technology. In 2023, a CBDC card and digital vouchers were launched in Kazakhstan. Also, cross-border and DFA settlements were tested. A pilot project for offline payments, scaling up the digitalization of government payments, implementing new services and smart contracts are scheduled for 2024.

In the field of Open Banking, Kazakhstan has already built an infrastructure and is now working on regulation. So, Aiyl Bank Board Chairman Tilek Alimdzhanov dwelled upon the implementation of the Islamic Finance project in the credit sector of Central Asia.


Kubanychbek Sadambekov, Director of the Infocom State Enterprise under the Ministry of Digital Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, dedicated his report to digital transformation to focus on the role of electronic services and biometrics in improving the efficiency of public administration and the convenience for citizens.

At the session “Payment business and technologies. From faster (instant) payments to new financial services. Uniform QR-code standard for payments”, International Consultant on digital financial services at the International Finance Corporation (IFC); Executive Director of the Association of eMoney and Remittance Market Participants (AED) Pavel Shust, spoke about data, instant payments and digital profile and their role for the future payments market of Kyrgyzstan.

The presentation made by Dmitry Khomenko, Pre-Sales and Sales Executive, BPC CIS, focused on modern alternative payment methods and new income generation tools for banks.


Davron Adylkhodjaev, CIO/CTO, TBC Uzbekistan, shared the history of the TBC Bank development since its establishing in Uzbekistan: from the acquisition of 51% of Payme in 2019 to the launch of the TBC Bank Uzbekistan product in 2020. He pointed out that the user bases of TBC Uzbekistan and Payme exceeded 14 million and 11 million, respectively. The speaker cited technical landscape characteristics, including three data centers in place, over 300 technical specialists, and more than 1 million transactions per day.

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Dmitry Dolbilin, CDO, TBC Uzbekistan, focused on the importance of analytics for business, discussed product development strategies and the significance of the customer journey analysis for optimization of offers and services. By an example of push notification that increased user activity by 3.5 times, the speaker showed how data analytics contributes to increased customer engagement.


Mikhail Yurchenko, Deputy Managing Director for the Central region, Compass Plus, made a report titled “Islamic banking: digitalization of banking products with a national flair.”

At the session “Digitalization of SMEs. Trends. Solutions for business issues”, Kuanysh Tankiev, Visa Commercial Solutions, Country Director for Central Asia and Azerbaijan, spoke about the needs and difficulties faced by SME owners.  


Aset Nurpeisov, CEO, Bukhta, dedicated his report to payment and accounting technologies for SMEs.


Stanislav Mukovoz, Head of Corporate Segment Digital Development, MBANK, made a presentation titled “Digital transformation: MBusiness and new opportunities for clients.”

At the session “Digitalization in civil engineering. From digital mortgage to BIM technologies,” Aidos Jumagulov, Councillor of Board Chairman, Freedom Finance Bank Kazakhstan, delivered a report titled “Digital mortgage in Kazakhstan – a unique case of Freedom Bank.”

At the session “Cybersecurity. Cyber threats and information security in the banking sector”, Alexey Lukatsky, Information Security Business Consultant, Positive Technologies, made two presentations at once. The first presentation covered the methods of penetration into the banking infrastructure and respective anti-penetration techniques, the second one was titled “Minimalistic SOC. Basic measures to protect against most cyber threats.”

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Diana Tursunbaeva, Senior Inspector, Department of Legislative Examination of Personal Data Protection, State Personal Data Protection Agency under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, spoke about the activities of the State Agency, its practical cases and plans.


Bekassyl Mukazhan, Senior Consultant on cybersecurity, Technology practice of KPMG Caucasus and Central Asia, presented his report titled “Social engineering – main vectors in 2023-2024. Assessments. Recommendations”.


Konstantin Sergeev, Head of Association of Retail Security Experts, reported on priorities in corporate security.


Kuban Ibraev, CEO, TONK Asia, delivered a report titled “Model Automated Workstations”.


Olzhas Satiev, CEO, Center for Analysis and Investigation of Cyber Attacks (TSARKA), presented his report “The Law on White Hat Hackers. How we launched and legalized BugBounty platforms in Kazakhstan.”

In her report, Anar Narynbek kyzy, Head of Information Security Department, FINCA Bank, dwelled on the development of financial and credit institutions in the context of information security.

The session “Crypto industry. Trends, forecasts. CBDC 2024. Asset tokenization, fintech platforms and smart contracts. Blockchain”, which deeply resonated with the Forum participants, was moderated by Andrey Mikhailishin, Head of the Cross-Border Settlements Commission, RF CCI

Head of the BRICS Pay Task Force, BRICS BC.

When reviewing the cryptocurrency market in Central Asia, General Manager of Binance Kazakhstan Zhaslan Madiev informed about successful cases in Kazakhstan and outlined prospects for the crypto industry in Kyrgyzstan.

The speakers also made a number of presentations focused on the industry’s topical issues. Karen Pogosyan, Head of International Development, Kryptolite, presented a report titled “New trends in cross-border payments and the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the EU and Asian markets.”


Maria Bolobonova, Lawyer, Partner at Belykh and Partners Bar Association, CEO of TechLawLab Digital Law Laboratory, Adviser to NAUFOR President, Member of the Expert Council of the State Duma of the Russian Federation on the legislative regulation of cryptocurrencies, made a report titled “Russian experience in asset tokenization: current state of the market and development prospects.”

One of the most respected experts in cryptocurrencies in Kyrgyzstan, Elena Chigibaeva, Co-founder and CEO of WeInCrypto DAO, dwelled on “Prospects and limitations for Kyrgyz commercial banks operating with virtual assets.”

Two more speakers delivered their reports online: Askarjon Zakirov, Head of crypto-assets turnover sphere development, National Agency of Perspective Projects of the Republic of Uzbekistan (NAPP), who delivered his report “Development and regulation of the crypto-assets (virtual assets) circulation in the Republic of Uzbekistan”, and Independent Consultant Robert Courtneidge, who analyzed the topical issue “Stablecoins and CBDC – the future of money?”

Opening the session “Digital services without borders. Banking infrastructure and self-service”, moderator Aliya Chynybaeva, Board Chairman, Halyk Bank Kyrgyzstan, addressed the audience with the words of welcome. Recalling her work in Uzbekistan, she introduced her colleague from that Republic, Farida Dadazhanova, Co-founder and Business Development Manager, FIDO-BIZNES, who shared the experience of their in-house solutions for digitalization in various industries. The speaker noted that the market is interested in new generation core banking systems and remote banking services.

Eldar Bilyalov, Head of Central Asia & Azerbaijan Cluster, TerraLink, and Head of “Electric Stations” Investment Projects Implementation Zhenishbek Kamchybekov presented the project “Digitalization of OJSC “Electric Stations” together with TerraLink. Session moderator Aliya Chynybaeva noted that the power industry is the key sector driving the formation of the GDP of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

Then, Alexander Vaganov, Project Manager at NORBIT, presented his report “Digitalization of the energy sector of Kyrgyzstan.”

Further on, the speakers analyzed in detail the issues related to digital transformation in the banking sector. Grigory Pryalukhin, Senior Business Development Manager, Lenovo ISG, EECA, informed the Forum delegates about his best practices: “Lenovo ISG flexible software-defined solutions for digital banking tasks, with a real case of Lenovo ISG as an example,” where the real case was the speaker’s personal experience in working with representatives of the business sector of Kyrgyzstan.


Evgeniy Zaika, Bank Sector Development Director, VisionLabs, informed the audience about the trends in the development of biometrics-based banking services.


Chyngyz Amanatov, Director, State Agency TUNDUK, informed about the use of the Tunduk mobile application.


Vitaly Kopysov, Head of Innovation at Sinara Bank, dedicated his report to the topic “New evolution of the financial industry. ‘Payment’ – this still refers to Banks or already to Fintech?”

The session “e-Commerce is taking off. Marketplaces as an evolutionary trajectory. Business strategy. Prospects" began with a speech by Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Commerce of the Kyrgyz Republic Kubanychbek Zakenaev, which was dedicated to the impact of the law on e-commerce on the e-commerce sector in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The report of Ansar Abuev, Freedom Finance Global, was focused on the study of trends in consumer behavior of Kazakhstanis in the field of e-commerce.


Ksenia Shkolnikova, GR Director, Wildberries Kyrgyzstan, spoke about the development of Wildberries in the country and the e-commerce growth trends in the region. “We see the enormous potential of the Central Asian countries both in terms of increasing consumer demand and in the context of growing number of suppliers of local products. Kyrgyz products are getting increasingly popular among buyers on Wildberries,” the speaker noted.


Andrey Myakin, SDEK in Kyrgyzstan, spoke about the systemic development of delivery services in Central Asia.

The report by Aikanysh Saparalieva, Glovo, Kazakhstan, was dedicated to the revolution in e-grocery.

The report “Incentivising local entrepreneurship: a key strategy for further development of Ozon in Kyrgyzstan” was delivered by Asel Turgunbekova, Ozon in Kyrgyzstan.

The session “Fintech. Artificial intelligence. Financial services of the digitalization era. Non-financial players” was moderated by Cybernet Business Development Director Ivan Belokhvostikov. His colleague Vitaly Akulov presented a report titled “Artificial intelligence as an effective tool for mass customer communications. Real cases: telemarketing, collection, NPS” to share his best practices in IT innovation.

Svetlana Gazizova, Head of SSDLC, Positive Technologies, invited delegates to discuss the topic “How to survive the digital transformation of the financial industry and avoid falling prey to a hacker.”

Then, Kanykei Zhamangulova, Board Chairman, Interbank Processing Centre, presented her report “Big Data. Further transformations of the banking landscape.”

Experts also paid special attention to the adoption of AI technologies in the banking industry. Timur Miyassarov, Head of Export, Single integrator UZINFOCOM, made a presentation titled “AI in the fintech industry. MyID — a reliable remote identification tool”. Mikhail Vorobiev, CTO, H3C Technologies Co., CIS, dedicated his speech to the topic “Digital transformation with H3C Cloud Solution”.


Viktor Dostov, International Consultant on digital financial services, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), made a presentation “Embedded finance. The impact of artificial intelligence on financial services.”

The report by Yaroslav Kabakov, Strategy Director, Investment Company FINAM, was focused on “Digital technologies, artificial intelligence in the financial sector — transformation scenarios.”

The explosive growth of the digital financial sector is to be driven by the real economic value created by intellectual property in the 21st century. Otherwise, the economy could feel a shock at least equal to that caused by the dot-com crash. This thesis belongs to Sergey Matveev, Co-chairman of the Coordination Council of the all-Russian public and state organization “Russian Centre for the circulation of rights to the creative activities results” (RCIS). It is necessary not to omit the development of digital infrastructures for protecting assets in the form of intellectual property, and it is also time for legal entities to be transformed into a digital asset. Without this, Kyrgyzstan’s plans for the development of creative industries cannot be implemented,” the speaker noted.

The session “Modern retail. Business and Technology” was opened with the report “Consumer Market of Central Asia: Challenges of 2024” made by Infoline Founder and CEO Ivan Fedyakov.


Ravil Rakhmatulin, Managing Director / CEO of Umai Group, delivered his report “Segmentation as a sign of market and consumer maturity.”


Olesya Kushchenkova, Head of Marketing, Kulikovsky Trading House, reported on the digitalization of the loyalty system.


Sergey Belyaev, Partner at PLUS Consulting, delivered a report on loyalty under conditions of the modern acquiring.


Alexey Ivanov, Founder and CEO, Customer Experience Laboratory (Russia/Uzbekistan), informed about customer experience improvment as a key factor in the competition between fintech and banks.

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Daria Sukhodolova, Regional Director, Lalafo, reported on the power of loyalty and transformation of the approach to managing client success.

The 2024 event was marked by the signing of a number of large-scale memorandums of cooperation that are important for the country and regional market

Thus, a memorandum of cooperation was signed at the PLUS-Forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan” between the Ozon marketplace and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic. Alexey Sapon, Chief Operations and Business Development Officer, Ozon CIS, noted: “Entrepreneurs in the republic produce high-quality goods that are in great demand both in the domestic market and abroad. Together with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kyrgyzstan, we will help entrepreneurs enter new markets and increase turnover on the marketplace.”

In turn, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kyrgyzstan Temir Sariev said: “Our key task is to develop exports and popularize goods of Kyrgyz producers in the EAEU space. Ozon is one of the largest marketplaces that already operates in five CIS countries and is open to cooperation with entrepreneurs from Kyrgyzstan.”  

Positive Technologies, the Diamond Sponsor of the PLUS-Forum, and the Kyrgyz State Technical University named after I. Razzakov (KSTU) signed an agreement on strategic partnership and cooperation in improving the quality of education and training in information security. The agreement provides for the onboarding of KSTU students and teachers in the Positive Technologies educational platform that assists Russian and foreign universities in personnel training in the field of cybersecurity, as well as in the onboarding in the Standoff 365 platform, which includes a cyber testing ground, Bag Bounty programmes and relevant events.

Dmitry Shleifer, Business Development Director, Positive Technologies CIS, commented: “Amidst the continuing growth of cyber threats, the dynamic information security market in Central Asia is facing a shortage of professional personnel. The agreement with KSTU creates the necessary conditions for us to share our knowledge and experience with fledgling specialists in Kyrgyzstan.”

In his turn, rector of KSTU Mirlan Chynybaev emphasized that the agreement allows teachers and students to take free advanced training courses in the field of information security, gain access to Positive Technologies products, which ensure protection against cyber threats in many companies around the world, including the CIS countries.

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During the Forum, a memorandum and  a strategic partnership agreement were also signed between TONK Asia and Basalt SPO. This refers to joint promotion of existing software products and solutions to the market, a partnership based on the OEM model, as well as close technological interaction. Development of an open source operating system for Kyrgyzstan will be one of the most important areas of the collaboration. This software product is designed to break the monopoly of Western vendors in the country’s IT market, Basalt SPO notes.

During the PLUS-Forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan”, Flash Pay and Halyk Bank Kyrgyzstan signed a memorandum of cooperation aimed at strengthening engagement in the field of financial services.

Also, the Trade Markets Support LLC and the Association “International Business Council” signed a memorandum of cooperation aimed at implementing joint projects in the field of business development in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The conference programme of thePLUS-Forum ended with the address by Steering Committee Co-chairman Konstantin Grizov, who thanked the speakers and delegates of the event, encouraged them to further exchange of best practices and close communication, and invited them to participate in future PLUS-Forums. After that he declared the PLUS-Forum “Digital Kyrgyzstan” closed.

The PLUS-Forum Organizers thank the sponsors, speakers and delegates for their participation! We look forward to seeing you at our PLUS-Forums in 2024!

Just as a reminder, the nearest PLUS-Forum “Fintech, Banks and Retail” will be held in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) as soon as June 12–13, 2024!

Journal:  PLUS №3 (311), 2024

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