Kazakhstan Seeks to Boost Production of Innovative Products to $5.5 Billion by 2025

ASTANA – QazInnovations National Agency for the Development of Innovation intends to accelerate innovation and facilitate technological progress by bringing the share of companies to 25 percent by 2030 and increasing the volume of innovative products to 2.5 trillion tenge ($5.5 billion) by 2025, said Madiyar Abilov, director of the Innovation Ecosystem Development Center at QazInnovations, in an interview with Kazinform. 

Madiyar Abilov. Photo credit: QazInnovations’ official website.

How does Kazakhstan foster innovation?

The country offers several measures to support small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises, innovators, and startup entrepreneurs through various state bodies, development institutions, national companies, and holdings. Kazakhstan has created innovation centers nationwide, including Astana Hub and TechGarden, to promote the development and commercialization of new ideas.

In addition, the Tumar Venture Fund, created as part of the World Bank’s Fostering Productive Innovation project, promotes early financing in fast-growing startups.

Kazakhstan has also significantly simplified the process of registering a business, promoting entrepreneurial activity, and stimulating new innovative projects.

What issues does Kazakhstan still face? 

Kazakhstan needs programs for financing innovative projects, and there is still a need for more funds. This hinders the development of innovative projects. To facilitate innovations, it is necessary to provide tax preferences to business angels.

The low level of the critical mass of projects results in a limited presence of startups, low potential for exits and weak stock market development, limited scalability due to the small population, and a lack of competent specialists in venture financing and talent outflow.

Kazakhstan also has an insufficient number of qualified personnel and a low culture of innovation.

Which sectors show the highest growth in innovation?

Kazakhstan is developing innovative projects in various sectors of the economy, such as energy, agriculture, medicine, information and communication technologies (ICT), space technology, transport, and logistics. The ICT industry, including digitalization and artificial intelligence, has rapidly developed in recent years.

The country takes measures to advance an innovative economy and invest significant resources in developing scientific and technical potential. Considering global trends and domestic competencies, the Council for Technology Policy under the government of Kazakhstan approved MedTech, AgriTech, and GreenTech as priority areas for economic development in 2022. The state will prioritize supporting projects and, in general, stimulate the growth of projects in these areas.

How does Kazakhstan’s innovation space compare across different regions and countries?

Kazakhstan’s innovation ecosystem is developing rapidly. Compared to other countries, such as Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, Kazakhstan’s ecosystem is at an earlier stage of development. The Kazakh government is developing and implementing measures to support innovation efforts, including tax incentives, startup grants, and programs to help small and medium-sized businesses. Kazakhstan is also attracting foreign investment and technology, particularly in IT and the digital economy. 

How does QazInnovations interact with the private sector and academia to stimulate innovation?

Commercializing technologies and stimulating innovations is a critical and timely process for domestic science. Transferring scientific developments to industry has broad support worldwide, but in Kazakhstan, such a mechanism is still being established. 

To work efficiently with the private sector and academia to promote innovation, we need to ask the following questions – how do we become technologically advanced, how do we gain a critical mass of innovation, what do Kazakh scientists lack to become innovators, and where are the gaps?

For this purpose, we need to follow an innovation formula: innovators must be scientists to generate ideas in creating scientific and technological innovation, but to commercialize their development and enter the market, they must also be economists.

Only under such conditions, innovator + scientist + economist, will the country be able to create and stimulate high-tech innovation.

To enhance innovation, it is also necessary for innovators and scientists to develop and implement their ideas into a finished prototype. For this purpose, it is essential to create prototyping laboratories, the so-called FabLab, at universities.

QazInnovations proposes to include an innovation course in the university program, which will consist of providing training in auditing, marketing, intellectual property protection, technology transfer, and acceleration. 

What innovative products have recently been introduced in Kazakhstan?

QazInnovations provided grants for the Alina Group company to purchase innovative technology and equipment to produce marble filler for a factory of dry building mixtures and paint products in Aktobe. 

The glass-service company modernized the industrial complex for glass processing using innovative processing technologies. KazElectroMash launched the production of high-voltage cables from cross-linked polyethylene.

These examples show that Kazakhstan is developing innovations and technologies. Introducing new products and services helps to improve the quality of life of the country’s citizens.

The article was originally published in Kazinform. 

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