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Improving the Digital Skills of Young People and Women Entrepreneurs in the Kyzylorda Region


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kazakhstan today launched a new initiative to ensure equitable access to digital solutions and equip micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the skills they need to adapt to new technologies. The project is part of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre's (USPC) flagship initiative - the SDG Partnership Programme - which aims to share innovative and best practises and policy tools from the Republic of Korea with other countries, including Kazakhstan.


Launched in 2023, the USPC’s SDG Partnership on "Supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises through Inclusive Digital Transformation" supports partner countries in achieving inclusive digital transformation of MSMEs by sharing relevant Korean experiences and tools that support the digitalization of vulnerable economic actors such as MSMEs and youth- and women-led enterprises, and by facilitating their local adaptation in a way that complements existing initiatives and contributes to the achievement of relevant development objectives of the partner country. The initiative draws on the experience and practices of the Small Enterprise and Market Services (SEMAS) in the Republic of Korea as a reference.


In Kazakhstan, the SDG Partnership programme aims to i) develop curricula for online courses on digital skills, ii) implement a programme to train trainers for vulnerable groups and iii) organise a "Future Forward Forum" to support MSMEs in the Kyzylorda region by improving their digital skills and solutions, especially in the areas of data analysis and decision-making.


MSMEs make up a large part of the entire private sector in both industrialised and developing countries. In Kazakhstan, 2,026,527 MSMEs were registered in January 2023, providing employment to more than 4.1 million people or 20 percent of the population.


However, it is evident that MSMEs are lagging in adopting digital technologies that can improve their participation in e-commerce and their access to digital finance.


Inclusive digital transformation requires ensuring equal access to digital solutions and equipping MSMEs with the appropriate skills to adapt to new technologies. Kazakhstan was selected as a partner country for this year to jointly promote the digital skills of women and youth-led businesses.


A kick-off meeting was organised to introduce key partners and stakeholders from the Republic of Korea and Kazakhstan to discuss the objectives and implementation plans of the SDG Partnership Programme and to identify the appropriate Korean expertise, solutions and tools that can be best used to adapt to the Kazakh context.