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Huawei Digital Nepal Conclave 2022 hosted by the ICT Foundation Nepal has started today at the Soaltee Hotel, Kathmandu. Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun inaugurated the two days event.
The event ran for two days, Saturday and Sunday (18 and 19th of June). It had 60 speakers from 5 countries giving keynote presentations. The two-day event was organized in association with InfoDevelopers and Connected by Ncell.
The Conclave consisted of ten sessions on five different themes concerning Digital Nepal.
The event concluded Sunday, June 19th among an elated flare. On the second and final day, experts, and stakeholders of the ID industry highlighted the need for cooperation for the transformation of Digital Nepal.
The speakers said that digital transformation was not possible by the government and the private sector alone, adding that there was a need for wide-ranging cooperation among all parties.
“We are working hard to develop the ICT sector as an industry. This is clear from the government’s policy and budget program and our 15th plan,” said Arjun Prasad Pokharel, secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies. “Cooperation is needed now to move this sector forward. For this, both the regulatory body and the private sector should increase their capacity and work together,” he added.
Similarly, Kewal Prasad Bhandari, Member Secretary of the National Planning Commission, spoke on a great potential IT industry development. Mr. Bhandari said that if the industrial sector and tax facility like that of India could be arranged for IT companies by moving ahead with the construction of an IT park in Nepal. He also thanked the government for reducing the minimum foreign direct investment cap of Rs 50 million. Later, he said that there should be no investment threshold for the IT sector.
Secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Baikuntha Aryal, who was present at the event, said that the ministry was focused on enhancing digital foundation, digital literacy, and access. Secretary Aryal also said that he would help in promoting the products of the domestic IT industry, adding that the ministry was always ready to welcome the suggestions of experts to make such provisions in the law.
Similarly, stakeholders have said that Nepal has reached the ‘transition phase’ in fintech innovation due to the government’s financial technology development-friendly policy. Speaking at Conclave’s ‘Digital Finnovation in Nepal’ session, stakeholders said that technology-friendly financial weapons are also being developed in digital society-oriented Nepal.
“Phenomenal growth is taking place in the sector due to the government’s open policy on finance technology and private sector support,” said Neelesh Man Singh, chief executive officer of Nepal Clearing House Limited (NCHL).
On the same day of the Huawei Digital Nepal Conclave 2022, nine dialogue sessions on various topics were held. Similarly, technology experts from national and international fields also presented working papers on various topics in the field of ICT.
The government is going to form a high-level commission to solve the problems seen in the field of information technology. IT Advisor to Prime Minister Dipesh Bista started it at the Digital Nepal Conclave 2022.
He informed that a high-level committee would be formed soon to coordinate the problems in the IT sector under the leadership of the Prime Minister. ‘The process of forming the commission is well underway. We must take the facts into account. “
Ten years ago, the government also set up a high-level committee for the IT sector. But, it has been dissolved. However, everyone has felt the need for such an institution. That is why a new committee would come into being under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun after kickstarting the program said the state needs to increase the investment in the development of the ICT sector.
“The government has started work to make the country digital by unveiling a digital framework in 2076,” he said. “Now is the time for the state to increase investment along with information technology infrastructure.”
“If the services could be provided in the rural areas using the latest information technology, the people would be able to get comfortable services to a great extent,” he added.
Vice President Pun called for the need to develop ICT as the basis for Nepal’s prosperity.
Similarly, the Minister of Communications, Information, and Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki spoke on the significance of the Digital Nepal Framework. He said the government launched the Framework to form guidelines for the vision of a Digital Nepal. “We have already prepared policy, technical, structural, economic, and strategic plans for the Digital Nepal Framework,” he said. Now, he quipped, “it’s time for the stakeholders to make their efforts”.
“To help the concept contribute by double, we need to implement the framework at the provincial level too,” he added.
Karki also said the government is ready to amend ICT policies to align them with the changing dimension of ICT.
He said the government is shifting public services digital to cater more efficient services to the public. But to realize the vision of Digital Nepal, all public and private sectors and experts must work together.
InfoDevelopers CEO Umesh Raghuvanshi gave his presentation on IT Industry: Powering Digital Nepal. Speaking at the event, he also called for a tax holiday and suggested a separate Public Procurement Act.
Similarly, Pallav Shah, General Manager of The Open Group India, did a presentation on Experience of Digital Enterprise Architecture. In his presentation, he pointed out the lack of uniformity and standard in ICT services, and the lack of policy, infrastructure, and financial resources as major challenges.
Speaking on the occasion, William Zhang, CEO of Huawei Nepal, said that there is great potential for digital transformation in Nepal. “I am very impressed with Nepal’s talent pool,” said Zhang. “The efforts for digital transformation here are very good.”
Similarly, Vice President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Dinesh Shrestha said that it was necessary to end the trend of not allowing digital transformation initiatives for personal gain. He also expressed the commitment of the private sector to cooperation in the journey of Digital Nepal.
Presenting a working paper on Key Elements of Strategy for Digital Nepal, ICT expert Manohar Bhattarai said that investment priorities need review to strengthen the ecosystem of digital transformation. He also said that the campaign requires a close evaluation.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the program, Chairman of Nepal Telecommunication Authority Purushottam Khanal and Vice-Chancellor of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology Sunil Babu Shrestha pointed out the need to reduce the digital divide by including citizens from the grassroots in the ecosystem of Digital Nepal.
The event also showcased a documentary that included the journey of the Digital Province Dialogue 3.0.
Rajan Lamsal, President of ICT Foundation Nepal, said that the Digital Nepal program should be promoted jointly by both the government and the private sector. It will further contribute to the advancement of Digital Nepal’s campaign.
The first session on the first day started with the title Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity. It then followed the presentation and opening of the note on the first day of the Conclave sessions. Similarly, the second session was titled Digital Skill, Talent Pool, and Digital Workforce for Digital Nepal. The first day’s third session was Data Gaps, Bridging the Data in the Center stage. The final session on the first day ended with the presentation on the Digital Economy and Investment Opportunities.
The second day includes, besides keynote presentations, sessions on Emerging Technologies for Digital Transformation, Digital Entrepreneurship, and Cyber Security.
The event also features important sessions on Digital Innovation and Beyond for the Digital Society, Building Digital Leadership, and finally, the Way Forward for Digital Transformation. The organizers say there will also be conference sessions. Besides, the event comprises exhibition stalls relating to Digital Nepal.
Huawei also exhibited new technologies ‘Lighting Up the Future’ in a separate hall at the same time. The Chinese tech giant is also the main sponsor of the event.
Razan Lamsal, Chairman of the ICT Foundation said there will be extensive discussions and interactions on the framework, agenda, concept, and digital transformation of Nepal. He says this is likely the first major program addressing this topic since the Digital Nepal Framework 2019 came into public view.
The organizers have met with the Chief Minister, Ministers, people’s representatives, and stakeholders to discuss the province’s digital transformation practices and efforts. At the same time, the organizers will also make the report public. It will include the province’s “digital status”.
The organizers expect 800 participants to attend the two-day Conclave. Among the attendees will be secretaries of government bodies and various ministries, and stakeholders from eight important sectors under the Digital Nepal Framework. Many corporate and banking sector leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs will also make their presence.
The event dubbed the ‘Digital Nepal Conclave for Digital Transformation,’ has the backing of Huawei as its main sponsor. Meanwhile, InfoDevelopers and Ncell are contributing as co-sponsors.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Nepal Rastra Bank, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) are all supporting the program.
The Asia Foundation is the Conclave’s development partner. Likewise, NIC Asia is the ‘Banking Partner’, Nepal Clearing House is the ‘Digital Payment Partner’, Presidential Business School is the ‘Knowledge Partner’ and Nepal Telecom is the ‘Official Partner’. Nepal Bank Limited, Rara Labs, Frost & Sullivan, CRI, and other organizations have also made contributions to the program.
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