"We Have Ambitious Goals": the SCO Plus Forum Participants Have Discussed the Digital Transformation of the Economy

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered the acceleration of the economy digitalisation in most countries. That was the conclusion made by the participants of the Digital Transformation of the Economy session held as part of SCO Plus inter-party forum.

"Digital transformation of the economy is a high-priority objective for the development of Russia. Citizens should receive 95% of public services without face-to-face communication. This is an ambitious goal that we aim to meet," the Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev said. According to him, most of public services should be provided to citizens automatically and not require a visit to relevant authorities.

"A management structure based on the use of big data is being created in our country," said General Director of ASI Svetlana Chupsheva. Each federal and regional ministry has employees who are in charge of digital services that are already being used in management. "The pandemic has driven us to quickly adapt and get used to remote technologies. We did everything possible to facilitate procedures and convert things into a digital format," stressed Chupsheva. First of all, it concerned the organisation of distance education, telemedicine, and social services.

The head of the agency mentioned the competition of solutions based on big data (World AI & Data Challenge) that ASI is conducting for the second time this year. In 2020, the competition was supported by the World Bank, and the number of participants was unprecedentedly high with the teams representing 80 regions of Russia and 30 countries. "Solutions to provide targeted assistance to low-income families and medical services that relieve doctors of administrative workload were offered as part of the competition. Besides, there were solutions for tourism, an algorithm that transcodes the Braille alphabet in Latin and Cyrillic and many other things," said Chupsheva.

"The pandemic has certainly given a new impetus to digitalisation. Big data is becoming the new oil of the digital age. We are in for opening the new frontier of social and economic development," emphasised Ivan Danilin, the Head of the Science and Innovation Department at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO). According to him, the next steps towards digital transformation are training of IT specialists and enhancing people's digital literacy in different countries, developing distant communication services, designing a new system of interaction between state and private partnerships in digital realm and facilitating experience exchange between the government and citizens.