Annex A. Methodology

In the framework of the Central Asia Competitiveness IV Project co-financed by the European Union, the OECD ECP and the government of Kazakhstan established an OECD-led Public-Private Working Group, co-chaired by the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry to review framework conditions for the digital transformation of the private sector in Kazakhstan. The Working Group (WG) brought together representatives from the government of Kazakhstan, SMEs, business associations, and other development partners. The OECD ECP, with contributions from international experts and peer reviewers from OECD member countries, carried out analysis, data collection and consultations with stakeholders in Kazakhstan to assess and develop recommendations for institutions and policies needed to support the strengthening of framework conditions for the digital uptake of firms in Kazakhstan following the “Digital Kazakhstan” strategy.

The note built on the extensive corpus of OECD work on digitalisation and SMEs, and developed a country-specific assessment for Kazakhstan. The analysis focused on three main elements for ensuring sound framework conditions for private sector digitalisation: (i) the remaining digital connectivity gap across the country, (ii) the state of competition and investment attraction in the telecom sector, and (iii) the state of digital security and data protection for firms. For each dimension, the OECD has assessed the current state, identified challenges and priority areas for policy action, and discussed possible drivers for implementation.

The peer-review exercise relied on a continuous dialogue between the OECD, the government of Kazakhstan, the private sector, and international partners, including through working group meetings(Table A A.1) and several bilateral consultations in 2022. In particular, the OECD has used a series of questionnaires, data requests and collection, analysis of existing surveys and interviews, to collect data and information.

The assessment framework is the central tool for the OECD peer-review, and to suggest recommendations based on measurable policy actions. Each of the three dimensions of the framework have been broken down into several measurable policy areas.

For each policy dimension, data has been collected using desk research, questionnaires (see below) and interviews with key stakeholders from the public and private sector in Kazakhstan Table A A.2) as well as with actors from the development community, the international business sector, and key institutions in OECD countries. Complementing the interviews, detailed questionnaires and data requests have been sent to the Ministry of National Economy, the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Trade and Integration , QazTrade, the National Association for Communication and Digitalisation, the National Telecommunication Association of Kazakhstan, the Association of Television and Radio Broadcasting Operators of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Digital Kazakhstan Association, the Agency for Protection and Development of Competition of Kazakhstan (Department of Transport and Communication), Kazakh Invest, DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund, the Economic Research Institute, Atameken, the International Chamber of Commerce of Kazakhstan, the Astana International Financial Centre, and Zerde, the National Infocommunication Holding.

This draft report has been peer reviewed and endorsed in the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Roundtable in March 2023, a policy network that brings together high-level representatives and technical experts from Eurasia countries, OECD members and partner organisations.

Please attach source documents (English or Russian) and provide hyperlinks, if available.

Institutional and policy framework on digitalisation for businesses

On the national digital strategy

  1. 1. Does Kazakhstan have a National Digital Strategy (NDS)?

    1. o Key policy objectives

    2. o Details on budget and time frame

    3. o Previous NDS (if any) and results?

  2. 2. Is the NDS:

    1. o A standalone strategy

    2. o Part of a broader national strategy (e.g. innovation strategy).

    3. o The digital economy objectives and planned policy actions are scattered across multiple policy documents (e.g. SME development strategy, ICT strategy, broader economic development strategy)

  3. 3. What are the main policy objectives of your NDS? (Please consider all relevant strategies when identifying digitalisation priorities and planned policy actions).

    Please rank priority from 1 (low) to 10 (high), and provide details on the ensuing policy actions.

    1. o Develop telecommunication infrastructure

    2. o Enhance internet governance

    3. o Promote digital uptake by individuals

    4. o Promote digital uptake by businesses

    5. o Enhance digital government

    6. o Foster innovation in digital technologies

    7. o Develop skills for digital transformation

    8. o Enhance data governance

    9. o Improve digital security

    10. o Enhance consumer protection online

    11. o Other not mentioned

  4. 4. Does Kazakhstan adopt guidelines/standards/formal or legal requirements for the following digital government domains? (Yes/No)

    1. o Digital signature

    2. o Digital identity

    3. o Cybersecurity

    4. o eProcurement

    5. o Interoperability

    6. o Open data

    7. o Data sharing and re-use

    8. o Digital inclusion

    9. o Once only principle

    10. o Digital by design services

  5. 5. Does Kazakhstan’s NDS set targets?

    1. o Please provide details on the targets / indicators / baseline / current state

On the institutional framework

  1. 6. Which institutions, actors, mechanisms are responsible for the following:

    1. o Lead the development of NDS

    2. o Contribute inputs to NDS

    3. o Co-ordinate implementation of NDS

    4. o Implement NDS

    5. o Monitor implementation of NDS

    6. o Evaluate NDS

  2. 7. How do you ensure co-ordination among different bodies for the development and implementation of the NDS?

  3. 8. Is there a budget associated with your NDS?

    1. o Yes No

    2. o Please provide details on the budget (planned, allocated, or spent, as applicable) and time frame

  4. 9. Could you provide us an overview of the current institutional landscape (names and mandates of responsible ministries and agencies)? In particular:

    1. o Which institution(s) is (are) in charge of the development of national and subnational (e.g., regional/ municipal, etc.) communication infrastructure strategies?

    2. o Which institution(s) is (are) in charge of the implementation of national and subnational communication infrastructure strategies?

    3. o Which institution(s) is (are) in charge of the monitoring of national and subnational communication infrastructure strategies?

    4. o Could you detail the mandate and work plan, in particular pertaining to digitalisation of businesses and SMEs, of DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Fund?

    5. o What is the role and mandate of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry in relation to digitalisation support for businesses?

    6. o How does the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry co-ordinate work with other agencies and ministries:

      1. With the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development for digital infrastructure?

      2. With the Ministry of National Economy for digital support to businesses?

  5. 10. What is the role and co-operation with Atameken and other business associations?

    1. o Has the private sector been consulted during the development and implementation of the Digital Kazakhstan Strategy (NDS)?

    2. o Does the implementation plan of the NDS include formal public-private dialogue (PPD) mechanisms?

    3. o Are there formal PPD mechanisms on digital topics for businesses, for example with the Chamber of commerce and Industry?

    4. o Do Atameken or other business associations identify businesses needs in relation to digital infrastructure (accessibility, use, quality, affordability)?

Digital uptake of businesses under the recovery package

  1. 11. Did your country adopt digital government solutions to improve services to businesses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic? If yes:

    1. o Could you provide us with an updated overview of all support measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic to support business (and especially SMEs) move their activities online?

    2. o Could you detail us (if any) the measures that were planned/implemented to support companies going digital under the 2020-2021 recovery plan? What is the foreseen timeline? Which agencies/ Ministries will be in charge of planning and implementation?

Digital connectivity

  1. 12. Does Kazakhstan have (a) national connectivity plan(s) (e.g., a national broadband plan / policy to develop high-speed access network)? If yes, please specify:

    1. o Name

    2. o Main objectives

    3. o Budget and time frame

    4. o Does the plan include:

      1. Government investment in infrastructure?

      2. Fiscal incentives to providers of broadband networks?

      3. Specific provisions regarding the deployment of fibre and/or 5G?

    5. o Performance targets (e.g. minimum download speed Mbps, % of population/businesses/schools/rural population covered)

    6. o Previous plan/strategy (if any) and results?

    7. o Does the plan include regional/ sub-national connectivity targets?

  2. 13. Are national/local assessments of the investment gap in telecom infrastructures carried out regularly? If yes:

    1. o Please indicate the responsible agency(ies)

    2. o Is the private sector involved in these assessments (e.g., through PPD mechanisms)?

    3. o Could you please share with us the results of the most recent assessment(s)?

  3. 14. Could you please share (if any) the roadmap (strategy) for ICT infrastructure development in Kazakhstan?

    1. o If any, are regional and municipal (cities) involved in the development of the roadmap (strategy) for ICT infrastructure?

  4. 15. Is the private sector taking part in infrastructure development and planning?

    1. o If yes, have formal participation mechanisms (PPD, multi-stakeholders discussion mechanisms, etc.) been established?

  5. 16. Could you please detail the roadmap for country-wide broad bandwidth access for businesses included in the Digital Kazakhstan programme?

    1. o Could you please share data on the evolution of bandwidth coverage and access for firms since 2018?

  6. 17. Could you please detail the roadmap for country-wide 4G cellular network coverage as part of the Digital Kazakhstan programme?

    1. o Could you please share data on the evolution of 4G coverage and access for businesses since 2018?

  7. 18. Could you please detail the ICT cluster strategy as part of the Digital Kazakhstan programme?

    1. o Could you please detail the network infrastructure and platforms, and the advisory services clusters offer to participating firms?

    2. o Could you please share data on the number of clusters, the number of participating firms (large and SMEs), the services provided?

    3. o Can you share with us, if any, the results of surveys of business use and assessment of services offered in these clusters?

Use of digital technologies by businesses

19. What are the main government initiatives / programmes promoting SME digitalisation in Kazakhstan?

  • Name of the initiative

  • Launch year

  • Objectives

  • Main activities

  • Impact

20. Does Kazakhstan have policies to promote the use of digital technologies by businesses (e.g. ICT goods, software, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, big data, e-commerce, etc.)?

      • Yes/No

      • Please provide details on the policies:

        • Description

        • Objectives

        • Implementing/ responsible body

        • Are these initiatives described in official government policy documents? If yes, could you please share relevant links and documents?

      • Which of the policy instruments below apply to the policy described above?

        • Direct financial support (e.g. vouchers for the purchase of ICT goods or services, grants for ICT-related R&D, etc.)

        • Indirect financial support (e.g. tax incentives on ICT investment, loans at a preferential rate, etc.)

        • Nonfinancial support (e.g. training on digital technologies, business information, counselling, trade shows, etc.)

        • Regulations and statutory guidance (e.g. e-invoice standards, e-payment regulations, data authority, etc.)

  1. 21. Are there other initiatives led by non-government actors to promote digitalisation of SMEs? (incubators, accelerators, clusters, centres of competence, innovation centres). Please provide detail on the following:

    1. o Name of the initiative

    2. o Launch year

    3. o Objectives

    4. o Main activities

    5. o Impact

Improving competition and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the telecom sector

On the regulatory framework

  1. 22. Does Kazakhstan have an independent National Regulation Authority (NRA) for the telecom sector? If yes:

    1. o Please detail its mandate, staffing and budget

    2. o How does the NRA work with the Competition Authority of Kazakhstan?

  2. 23. Does Kazakhstan have a specific legal/regulatory framework for the telecom and digital sector? If yes:

    1. o What are its main features?

    2. o What provisions does it include?

  3. 24. What are the main legal/ regulatory provisions an investor willing to invest in communication networks must abide by? Please detail.

  4. 25. Is information about public assets in the telecom sector publicly available? Yes/No. Please detail.

  5. 26. Does Kazakhstan have a regulatory framework for public-private-partnerships (PPPs) in the telecom infrastructure sector? Yes/No. Please detail.

  6. 27. Does Kazakhstan have/ provide specific programmes and/or subsidies for the development of telecom infrastructure networks in rural and/or remote areas?

On support to investment

  1. 28. Has the government set out specific measures to boost competition and to drive infrastructure rollout (e/g., broadband or fibre) in the digital telecom sector?

    1. o If any, please detail the measure(s).

  2. 29. Has Kazakhstan developed measures to encourage investment in high-quality and affordable communication infrastructures and services? If yes:

    1. o Please detail the measure(s).

    2. o Is it carried out through Kazakh Invest? If not, please indicate the responsible agency(ies).

  3. 30. Does Kazakhstan provide state aid for investment in broadband deployment?

    1. o If any, please detail the measure(s).

  4. 31. Does Kazakhstan allow or infrastructure sharing for communication networks? Yes/No. Please detail.

  5. 32. Does Kazakhstan allow or encourage for co-investment, or “joint deployment” of broadband networks? Yes/No. Please detail.

  6. 33. Has Kazakhstan developed (or intends to develop) a plan to ease the legal/ regulatory requirements and measures for investment in communication infrastructures (e.g., no investor screening, simplified permit granting procedures, reduced approval and construction times, etc.)? Yes/No. Please detail.

Strengthening digital security and data protection for firms

  1. 34. Does DAMU, or another agency:

    1. o Offer training programmes to entrepreneurs and SMEs employees on digital security risk management? Do quality labels and/or certification mechanisms for such trainings exist?

    2. o Offer advisory services to businesses on digital security risk management? If yes:

      1. Is the staff of the agency providing directly advisory and training services or are they outsourced to private advisors?

      2. How is the advisory staff in dedicated agencies hired and trained?

      3. Has a network/ observatory of advisory services been set-up to provide advice and tailored training services at the request of individual companies?

        1. If yes, who is in charge of the network?

        2. Is it free of charge?

      4. How many SMEs/ firms have benefitted from advisory and training services over the past years?

      5. Does a programme of advertising and outreach regarding the advisory and training services offered by the relevant agencies exist? (e.g., a "single window")?

    3. o Provide financial support (grants, vouchers, subsidised loan programmes, etc.) to entrepreneurs and SMEs to reinforce their digital security risk management (e.g., trainings, digital equipment, etc.)?

    4. o Conduct regular consultations and surveys on the digital security risk faced by the private sector?

On digital security

  1. 35. Do you have a national digital security strategy for businesses or plan to introduce one? If yes, please specify:

    1. o Name

    2. o Main objectives

    3. o Budget and time frame

    4. o Does the plan include:

      1. Main pillars

      2. Previous plan/strategy (if any) and results?

  2. 36. What other policy initiatives does your country have regarding digital security and risk management for businesses?

    1. o Legal framework/regulations – if yes, do they cover:

    2. o Phishing/spam/malware

    3. o Cybersquatting/bad faith in user registration/CEO fraud

    4. o Awareness-raising activities (if yes, please specify)

    5. o Trainings (if yes, please specify)

  3. 37. Who is responsible for designing and implementing cybersecurity policies? Please detail.

  4. 38. What are the initiatives (bilateral, regional, and international) to foster co-operation on cybersecurity issues?

  5. 39. Could you please detail the “cyber shield” policy:

    1. o Main objectives

    2. o Budget and time frame

    3. o Does the plan include:

      1. Main pillars

      2. Previous plan/strategy (if any) and results?

On data and intellectual property rights (IPR) protection

  1. 40. Does Kazakhstan have a legal/regulatory framework for e-commerce? If yes:

    1. o What are its main features?

    2. o What provisions does it include on e-payments?

  2. 41. Does Kazakhstan have a legal/regulatory framework for online data protection? If yes:

    1. o What are its main features?

    2. o What provisions does it include on e-payments?

  3. 42. Has Kazakhstan a specific legal/regulatory framework for online IPR protection? If yes, what are its main features?

  4. 43. Are businesses using an e-commerce platform legally obliged to comply with a legal framework on online consumer protection and/or with online information disclosure rules?

  5. 44. Does a supervisory authority monitor:

    1. o E-commerce platforms that process personal data? (please specify)

    2. o Compliance with the regulatory framework on data protection (if any)?

  6. 45. What legal/regulatory framework and/or standards does Kazakhstan have for trust services (e.g., e-signatures)?

    1. o What are their main features?

    2. o What provisions does it include on e-payments?

    3. o Are they aligned with international standards?

  7. 46. Does your country have dedicated regulations on advanced technologies (e.g. AI, blockchain, big data, IoT, etc.)? If yes, what is the main goal of these regulations?

  8. 47. What are the co-operation initiatives (bilateral, regional, international) to foster regulatory harmonisation on these topics? Please specify.

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