Kazakh PM Explores Tech Innovations at Astana Hub

ASTANA — Kazakh Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov visited the Astana Hub technology park’s digital infrastructure on April 20 and learned about some startup initiatives, according to the Prime Minister’s press service.

Photo credit: Prime Minister’s press service

During the meeting with Astana Hub participants and Nazarbayev University (NU) researchers, the Prime Minister reiterated the President’s task of increasing the annual export volume of IT services and products to at least $1 billion by 2026. Today, this figure is $529 million.

Bektenov examined several domestic developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and discussed the prospects for increasing the commercialization of scientific projects and strengthening collaboration with the real sector of the economy.

Photo credit: Prime Minister’s press service

IT developers presented the Alaqan startup, a contactless payment system using biometric technology, the Arlan Biotech startup, which uses AI to create nanobodies, and the Higgsfield AI project, a platform for creating and editing videos based on AI and others.

Among the NU scientific developments, Bektenov focused on a project for monitoring flood risks using AI and reducing the consequences of floods, an autonomous desalination and water purification system for use in private households and greenhouses, as well as an AI solution in the field of mining and metallurgical complex – an automated detection system wobblers based on a video stream from a drone for use at fields.

The hub’s key tasks include attracting talent, providing training, assisting with business development, and facilitating the export of IT innovations.  The Tech Orda program, implemented at the hub, is designed to train 20,000 IT specialists by 2025. More than 15,000 students have completed training, and 2,000 startup projects have been launched.

Astana Hub participants enjoy a preferential tax regime that provides for exemption from payment of corporate tax, personal income tax, and value-added tax on the turnover of goods, works and services sold in Kazakhstan. Today, some 1,400 IT companies are registered in the Astana Hub, which earned 400 billion tenge (US$897 million) last year.

Bektenov also visited the first IT programming school in Central Asia, Alem. It is based on the principles of peer learning according to the French 01 Edu System methodology, without teachers and lectures. Alem has more than 900 graduates who work in local and international companies and startups.

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