Kyrgyzstan: preparing local youth for the digital economy

“I can’t thank Beeline enough for this centre,” says Eldar Juraev, a student at Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad State University, and a regular user of the city’s new co-working centre, opened by VEON operating company Beeline Kyrgyzstan. “In the classes I have learnt about so many useful applications and financial services that will help me in the future.”

Eldar is just one of the 2.1 million young Kyrgyzstanis on whom the country is pinning its economic hopes. Citing digital transformation as a key development goal, Kyrgyzstan’s 2018-2040 National Strategy includes a pledge to enable the next generation of Kyrgzstanis to play a leading role in domestic and global digital labour markets.

But vision is not always matched by resources, especially in towns like Jalal-Abad which are far from the capital city, Bishkek.

Beeline Kyrgyzstan’s co-working space addresses this shortfall by giving Jalal-Abad’s students, schoolchildren and budding entrepreneurs a bright, modern environment with free access to computers and wi-fi.

As a digital operator, we understand the importance of sharing IT knowledge with the younger generation. Jalal-Abad is a long way from the capital and there is no active and competitive environment among young people, so it is essential that we show them how they can grow and develop independently.

Eugene Krazhan
CEO, Beeline Kyrgyzstan

Additionally, masterclasses in programming, project- and productivity-management software, and personal and professional development enable young people to develop their skills, knowledge and entrepreneurial potential.   

Beeline Kyrgyzstan CEO Eugene Krazhan says: “There is no active and competitive environment among young people in Jalal-Abad, so it is essential that we show them how they can grow and develop digital ideas independently.”

He adds that the initiative also dovetails with the operator’s wider commercial goals by strengthening brand awareness and cementing loyalty among socially aware subscribers.

Based on Jalal-Abad’s dense student population, Beeline Kyrgyzstan anticipates that the new centre will attract up to 60,000 young users, and make meaningful inroads into UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 (Quality Education) by fostering inclusive and equitable learning in a region where access to opportunities is limited.

In turn, by ensuring that bright young people like Eldar have the skills they need to be competitive in global digital markets, the initiative supports UN SDG 9, which advocates for promotion of industrialization and innovation.