Report on certain aspects of digital transformation in Belarus

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Certain aspects of Belarus’ development in the digital environment were discussed during the report to Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 14 October.

The meeting was attended by high-ranking government officials, representatives of the Belarus President Administration, state administration bodies, leading universities, the IT sector, the Hi-Tech Park.

“Certain proposals aimed at promoting the development of the IT sector and other digitization processes in the country have been made today,” he said.

One of the issues on the agenda was the opening of a specialized educational institution for IT specialists in Belarus. “The IT community has come up with an initiative to set up a new specialized educational institution. This is one of the things on the agenda. Besides, the government has proposals regarding the improvement of IT-based management and digital processes,” the President said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the spectrum of topical issues in this segment is wide. “Therefore, digital transformation has been a priority in Belarus’ five-year program of social and economic development,” he said. “We haven’t made much progress in this field yet. Although a goal to create the full-fledged e-government by 2020 was set at the fifth All-Belarus People’s Congress,”

The head of state promised to hold a serious government conference to discuss the entire spectrum of digital transformation issues in the future. “We will start from the beginning: the essence of digitization, informatization, computerization, the difference between the three, major priorities. I have already told our IT specialists that by discussing the topic which is not crystal clear for our people (90-95% of the population don’t even understand what it means) without explaining the essence of digitization and preconditions for digital transformation we are just frightening people,” Aleksandr Lukashenko continued. “Another trend is that more and more people only want to become IT managers or other IT specialists. As I have said, we will still have to plough the soil, manufacture spare parts and complex machinery. And we will have to do it for a long time in the future, if not forever. Indeed, digitization penetrates all industries, including those. We are not going to forget about it.”

First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Aleksandr Turchin told the President that the proposal to set up the so-called hi-tech university in Belarus relies on the need to organize the training of a new generation of specialists in the country. “The global economy acquires an absolutely new look under the influence of IT technologies. There are new branches generating colossal revenues without traditional resources and mechanisms. And the human capital plays a crucial role in it. Belarus has always been famous for its people, and our education has always had a good reputation in the post-Soviet space,” he said. “However, in modern conditions we need brand-new approaches which will help us preserve and develop this status. Our education system in general meets the personnel demand. But we need a new generation of specialists for successful digital transformation and creation of the new economy. We do not train such specialists right now.”