Increasing exports and digital entrepreneurship in Kyrgyzstan
National E-commerce Development Programme in Kyrgyzstan endorsed
The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic launched an E-commerce Development Programme for 2023-2026 to increase the country’s exports and the competitiveness of its goods, reduce the costs of e-commerce players, ensure safety and security of e-commerce activities, attract investments, expand access to financial services and develop digital entrepreneurship.
The Programme’s main priorities in creating a favorable environment for developing e-commerce include improving the legal framework in e-commerce and e-services, financial infrastructure, electronic payment systems, training personnel, and strengthening companies’ skills to trade online.
At the launch event, Almaz Isanov, Head of the Political and Economic Research Department in the Presidential Administration said: “E-commerce is the realization of all economic freedoms and a new impetus for the growth of the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic.”
While preparing the Programme, the Government has taken concrete steps in supporting the development of the e-commerce ecosystem in Kyrgyzstan: in December 2021, the law on “electronic commerce" came into force, followed by a new Tax Code in January 2022, and simplified taxation for online stores in June 2022. An E-Commerce Association, created in 2020, was involved designing the E-commerce Development Programme and actively supports local companies to trade online.
“The development of digital technology holds the key to a large degree of recent EU prosperity and competitiveness, with e-commerce offering enormous opportunities for business-to-business and business-to-consumers,” said Kavlakonis Panagiotis, Charge d’affaires at the EU Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic. “The world market is large, growing and, thanks to the Programme, Kyrgyz entrepreneurs will be able to participate and benefit from it.”
Aibek Kurenkeev, President of the E-Commerce Association, added: “Approving the Programme is a big step for the development of e-commerce in the Kyrgyz Republic. We thank ITC’s Ready4Trade Central Asia project for their support. This document is the result of more than a year of joint work of government agencies, experts as well as business and civil society representatives. We really hope for its effective implementation.”
Darius Kurek, Senior Officer for Export Strategy at ITC said: “The National E-commerce Development Programme of the Kyrgyz Republic aims to foster the digitalization of the country's economy. Impact of the Programme will be achieved through its implementation, and this requires the efforts of each and everyone involved in the digital ecosystem of Kyrgyzstan, including continued public-private cooperation and dialogue, as well as an efficient coordination among development partners.”
The E-commerce Development Programme is based on an analysis of the e-commerce ecosystem in Kyrgyzstan carried out by ITC, as well as on a series of consultations ITC held with relevant agencies, departments and businesses in 2020-2021. The Programme is accompanied by a comprehensive strategic action plan with recommendations to further develop e-commerce in the country.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce in cooperation with the Ministry of Digital Development, the E-commerce Association and other agencies developed the E-commerce Development Programme in Kyrgyzstan with the support of the International Trade Centre’s Ready4Trade Central Asia project, funded by the European Union.
Is e-commerce the future?
Digital transformation and e-commerce are prioritized in the National Development Strategy of Kyrgyzstan for 2018-2040 (Vision 2040) and the corresponding five-year development programmes, in particular the country’s digital transformation concept “Digital Kyrgyzstan 2019-2023”.
Negotiations are currently underway to establish a specialized free economic zone in Kyrgyzstan for e-commerce, the first of its kind in the Central Asian region. The country can become a logistics and e-commerce hub for Central Asian countries, provided it has innovative logistics and distribution centres.
Kyrgyzstan’s strategic geographic location facilitates transit trade, as well as increases the potential of Kyrgyz exports. There is significant potential to become a transit zone for commercial transport and trade between the region, South Asia and the Middle East.
About the project
Ready4Trade Central Asia is a four-year EU-funded project implemented by the International Trade Centre in close collaboration with national partners, designed to contribute to the overall sustainable and inclusive economic development of Central Asia by boosting intra-regional and international trade in the countries of the region. Beneficiaries of the Ready4Trade Central Asia project include governments, small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular women-led enterprises, and business support organizations.