The lack of necessary conditions in the field of information technology and weak interest in the exact sciences in Tajikistan deprives the country of significant economic advantages, industry experts say. The authorities do not lose heart and plan to achieve results over the next twenty years.
Against the backdrop of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, thousands of IT specialists from Russia are moving to the countries of Central Asia. In an interview with the media, they note that they mainly choose Almaty, Tashkent and Bishkek for life and remote work because of the availability of the Internet and other services. Many open their businesses and start investing in a new location. Against this background, Tajikistan, having the worst indicators in terms of Internet accessibility, lags behind neighboring countries in attracting additional funds to its economy.
Specialists in technical industries note that the lack of conditions in the field of information technology and natural sciences stimulates the weak interest of young people in these areas, and the economy is deprived of huge financial and technological prospects.
“When choosing a country, specialists put the quality of the Internet, the cost of various services, and the reliability of the banking sector at the forefront. Unfortunately, according to these indicators, Tajikistan is far behind its neighbors,” says IT specialist Parviz Oshurmamadov, who currently works in Germany.
According to him, other countries have managed to create high-tech parks, in which dozens of companies already operate, having appropriate tax preferences and attracting tens and hundreds of millions of dollars to their countries.
“The countries of Asia, Eastern Europe, India take orders, develop projects and receive millions of dollars in their countries. This money supports the economy, stimulates the population to engage in entrepreneurship and raise the well-being of citizens,” our interlocutor notes.
The specialist is sure that with the formation of conditions and the emergence of successful companies in Tajikistan, an incentive would appear on the market for young people to engage in a new and profitable type of activity.
Location of neighbors
The Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Tajikistan, together with the University of Central Asia and StrategEast, have been studying the experience of other countries in recent years to create IT parks. Independent experts note that without an appropriate legal framework and accessible Internet, the project cannot be implemented.
Meanwhile, the first IT park in Kazakhstan was created in 2003, in Kyrgyzstan – in 2013, in Turkmenistan – in 2018, and in Uzbekistan – in 2019.
Tajikistan in the Technology and Innovation Report 2021, published on February 25, 2021 by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, is among the 15 most unprepared countries for new technologies in the world.
The lack of readiness for technology is also due to the lack of interest in the natural and technical sciences on the part of schoolchildren and youth. The problem has been discussed for many years at various levels, up to the president, but so far no progress has been observed.
“Usually, our young people and their parents, when choosing a profession, choose not the profession itself, but the lifestyle of a specialist. When he becomes a student at a medical institute, he does not plan to treat people, but wants to live like doctors and receive money from patients … If we want more people to study chemistry and physics, we need young people to see around them successful representatives of these sciences, ”writes the young Tajik physicist Rizo Bakhromzoda.
One of the employees of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan notes that the lack of incentive to study natural and technical sciences is their complexity, as well as the lack of further prospects for work, since the country’s industry has been completely destroyed. “As a result, there is an empty request that we be technologically advanced in the economy, the military industry, etc., but there are no conditions for attracting people to this industry,” our interlocutor notes.
In February of this year, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon signed a decree declaring 2020-2040 as “Twenty years of the study and development of natural, exact and mathematical sciences in the field of science and education.” The goal of the initiative is to form a scientific worldview, develop technical thinking, strengthen the connection between science and production, and attract young people to innovation.
Employees of the Academy of Sciences note that within the framework of the program, for the first time, competitions among young people in the exact sciences have begun to be held, with monetary rewards, which is a significant step towards promoting the exact sciences.
There is a desire, there is no model
Economic commentator Nur Safarov says it will take years and significant investment for Tajikistan to get local businesses involved in building the industry.
“In this regard, China is now leading as an investor in Tajikistan. Almost 99% of all investments in the mining industry are Chinese companies. In this regard, the Chinese come with money and brains, i.e. trained engineers and specialists