15:22, 2 July 2024 Page views 212 views

Digital Uzbekistan 2024. What did the Tashkent PLUS-Forum show?

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On June 12–13, 2024, Tashkent hosted the 4th International PLUS-Forum “Digital Uzbekistan”, the largest e-Gov, fintech and digital technology gathering in Central Asia.


The event was supported by the country's key regulators: the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the National Agency for Prospective Projects and the Competition Promotion and Сonsumer Protection Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Visa was the Title Sponsor of the event.

The full list of the Forum sponsors, partners and media partners can be found here.

PLUS-Forum delegates discussed a number of relevant topics, including the interaction of government agencies, the banking sector and retail, boosting the international cooperation in the field of banking and financial technology, as well as the rollout of new promising projects, including international ones.

Over the past years, intense competition for consumers between players in various segments is developing in the Central Asian region as a whole and in one of its most dynamically developing markets - Uzbekistan. Each player strives to arrange communication with the mass consumer exclusively through the player’s own platform. This approach helps not only to offer consumers proprietary goods and services, but also to widely use Big Data technology in order to know the client better and, thereby, create more powerful offerings of goods and services – both its own and partner ones. Meanwhile, high-quality retail is no longer possible without close integration of retail, fintech and banks.

The players in these segments practically have not crossed paths with each other so far; each of them participated in their own industry-specific events (for example, the industry BankExpo under the auspices of the Association of Banks of Uzbekistan, etc.). In recent years, however, thanks to the launch of large-scale cross-sectoral events such as the PLUS-Forum, they began to communicate more closely and better understand each other’s problems, share needs and best practices, which ultimately allowed them to offer sought-after solutions both to the market and to each other.

So, just a few years ago, competition between companies, especially in the retail sector, was based on access to cash and foreign currency. Then retailers began to compete focusing on the product prices and the service quality. Now we have moved to a new phase of competition: the one who managed to digitize their products and channels wins. In the future, competitive advantages will belong to those who have managed to use accumulated customer data effectively, and that is all none other but fintech!

Thus, PLUS-Forum today is, first of all, a place where the opportunities for real time market analysis are concentrated, where integration and synergy take palce between yesterday’s competitors for the consumer.

It is not unexpected that the PLUS-Forum “Digital Uzbekistan 2024” demonstrated a further increase in the popularity of this inter-sectoral platform both in Uzbekistan and in Central Asia as a whole. This year, over 2600 delegates applied for participation.  More than 130 speakers made their reports and presentations at the conference, while over 80 companies from 35 countries including Austria, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, China, UAE, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, USA, Turkey, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, as well as the CIS and Baltic countries presented their products, technologies and services at the exhibition.


Visa, HUMO, BS/2, PayPorter, MUK & Paloalto, Octobank, Innowise and many others presented their innovations to the PLUS-Forum participants.


The high-level lineup of speakers at the PLUS-Forum did not go unnoticed. Among the key speakers 2024:

• Sodir Melibaev, Deputy Chairman of the Central bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan – Member of the Board

• Dilshod Kurbonboev, General Director, Republican Collection Service of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan

• Jahongir Abdiev, Deputy Chairman, Tax Committee under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan

• Vyacheslav Pak, First Deputy Director of the National Agency for Prospective Projects

• Farrukh Karabaev, Deputy Chairman, Competition Promotion and Consumer Protection Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan

• Shukhratbek Kurbanov, Director, HUMO payment system

• Anton Borozdin, Senior Director for Business Development in Central Asia, Visa

• Ruslan Omarov, CEO, First Credit Bureau of Kazakhstan

• Alexander Filippovich, Board Chairman, UZUM Bank

• Nicholas Cameron, Partner, Head of forensics in the Middle East, KPMG Lower Gulf

• Aidos Jumagulov, Councillor of Board Chairman, Freedom Finance Bank, Kazakhstan

• Ulugbek Tavakkalov, Board Chairman, Madad Invest Bank

• Bakhrom Numonov, Board Chairman, APEX BANK; Council Chairman, Association of Islamic Finance and Takaful

• Vladimir Norov, Chairman, Central Asian Association of Artificial Intelligence

• Ilshat Khametov, CEO, Uzum Market

and many others 

This year, Forum participants were treated to a number of events organized by our partners and unique surprises: 

Drawing of $1 million worth AI grants from CyberNet. That was a unique opportunity to learn about advanced AI solutions for contact centers, receive 1 of 20 $50K grants from CyberNet and increase your conversions 

Seminars to promote the NETINFO service “Towards the banking of tomorrow: secrets of digital transformation through customer involvement.” 

HUMO business breakfast dedicated to the topic “Development of non-cash payments. Achievements, results and plan. National payment system HUMO”. 

Meetings with PLUS Group top experts. As part of the Digital Uzbekistan event, the PLUS Group prepared a unique opportunity for its participants to organize a free personal meeting with experts in cybersecurity, banking self-service and ATM network optimization, crypto industry, blockchain, etc.

Digital Uzbekistan. Day 1

As PLUS-Forum Steering Committee Chairman Alexander Grizov emphasized when opening the event, “the new name of the PLUS-Forum – Digital Uzbekistan – provides a better focus on the development of Uzbekistan as a digital power.”


In his turn, PLUS-Forum Steering Committee Co-chairman and PLUS Group CEO Konstantin Grizov, noted in his opening address that the most innovative solutions from leading international companies are presented at the Forum. “I want to share the official figures. Currently, we have received over 2,600 applications to participate in the Forum, up 15% compared to the event successfully held in 2023,” he stressed.


Also, a representative of Visa, the Title Sponsor of the event, regional manager for Visa in Uzbekistan Bekhzod Abdurakhmanov addressed the Forum participants with a welcoming speech. As the speaker noted, “Visa has been operating in Uzbekistan for more than 30 years. For us, the republic is a strategic market. And we do appreciate our partnership with commercial banks, fintech companies, and regulators’ representatives. I would like to note that over the past five years, our company has launched a number of new solutions and products that contribute to the development of a cashless economy and digitalization of Uzbekistan.”


Vyacheslav Pak, First Deputy Director of the National Agency for Prospective Projects of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Oleg Pekos, First Deputy Minister of Digital Technologies of the Republic of Uzbekistan, who participated in the opening of the Forum, also addressed the delegates with welcoming speeches.

As Oleg Pekos noted, Uzbekistan plans to increase the IT services export to $1 billion in 2024. The speaker focused on the implementation of digital transformation programmes that already show their results in various industries. He emphasized that thanks to the government support and formation of a favorable environment for IT business, the number of IT park resident companies in Uzbekistan has exceeded 2,100. Last year, these companies provided IT services of about $1 billion worth and exported software products of $344 million worth. 


“This year, our ambitious goal is to increase the export of IT services and software products to $1 billion. Two years ago, this target figure was set for 2028. We are ahead of these goals, and this makes us happy,” the speaker noted.

The First Deputy Minister of Digital Technologies of the Republic of Uzbekistan also informed about the expansion of e-government. He noted that last year alone, over 200 new services were added on the unified public services portal to allow delivery of more than 21 million services to citizens. Among other things, over 100 software products and information systems were implemented in the education, finance, customs, agriculture and geology spheres.

In his turn, Vyacheslav Pak called Uzbekistan a cryptosphere regulation leader among the CIS countries. He noted that Uzbekistan pays special attention to the accelerated development of the digital economy and the introduction of advanced information and communication technologies. “We note with great pride that Uzbekistan today takes the lead in the crypto-assets turnover regulation not only among the CIS countries, but also globally. Our country has formed a legal and institutional framework in this area.


In Uzbekistan, work is in progress to develop the financial sector, including the capital market, where the Regulatory Sandbox has already been introduced, stock market indicators are growing, and the basis for issuing green bonds has been created.

I would also like to note the explosive growth of e-commerce. I think that today many residents of the capital and regions cannot imagine their daily lives without various online services, marketplaces, aggregators of delivery and taxi services, streaming platforms,” said the First Deputy Director of the National Agency for Prospective Projects of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

During the Forum conference session “Further digitalization as a global trend in the banking business,” moderated by SBO Insights co-founder and partner Otabek Nasyrov, speakers discussed a number of topical issues related to the transition to digital technologies.


So, opening the first session of the Forum, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Board Member  Sodir Melibaev noted: “Today, about 42 payment organizations are registered in Uzbekistan, with 11 of them already starting their work with electronic money. We are introducing new types of services energetically. The number of NFC and QR-code payments is growing.”


In his report, Anton Borozdin, Senior Director for Business Development in Central Asia, Visa, noted that shoppers of the future, i.e.  Generation Z, primarily focus on the simplicity and convenience of payments, while leaving confidentiality issue outside the scope of their priorities. Young people show a high interest in various types of investment methods, but don’t find attractive a traditional instrument such as credit cards.

Anton Borozdin

Taking into account the high communicativeness of this category of clients, we can predict that brands willing and ready to interact with consumers on various platforms will attract them most, while visiting physical bank branches seems anachronistic to   Generation Z.

With the youngest Generation Z representative being 22 years old by 2035, we find quite predictable the interest of this category in mortgages, auto loans, as well as products and services offered through paid video game content.

Shukhratbek Kurbanov, Director, HUMO payment system, shared the key achievements and development plans of their company, which turns 5 years old in 2024. Since its establishing in May 2019, HUMO has issued over 26.5 million cards, with 12.69 million of them being actively used each month. The speaker emphasized that as few as 40% of all cards are part of salary projects, with the rest of them opened independently. Especially impressive is the number of virtual cards – about 5 million, which confirms the high level of trust and interest on the part of clients. In addition, about 200 thousand POS terminals were installed throughout the country to simplify significantly international payments and improve the HUMO services availability for foreign citizens staying in Uzbekistan.


Farrukh Karabaev, Deputy Chairman, Competition Promotion and Consumer Protection Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, presented his report “New legal framework for antimonopoly regulation of digital platforms in the Republic of Uzbekistan” to inform, in particular, about the implementation of Antimonopoly Compliance, which is a tool of soft regulation.


In his report, Jakhongir Abdiev, Deputy Chairman, Tax Committee under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan,

focused on automation and institutional reforms in tax authorities. In the period from 2018 to 2023, he said, the republic started modernization of the Data Processing Center and introduction of electronic invoices, established a system of motivation of citizens (tax partner, cashback) and launched many other digital initiatives on a national scale. Plans for 2024–2026 provide for the implementation of information and cyber security protocols, further development of Big Data technologies and artificial intelligence platforms.


Aidos Jumagulov, Board Member, Freedom Finance Bank Kazakhstan, paid special attention to the capabilities of the Freedom SuperApp mobile application and to the building of a large-scale ecosystem of the Freedom Holding Group. This refers, inter alia, to an innovative product such as cashback in the form of equity shares and to the offers for customers to use the new Freedom currency, namely, “the eighth currency with shareholder status, which is linked to the FRHC share.”


Georgy Shebuldaev, CEO, HWG Sababa Central Asia, delivered a presentation “Accelerated evolution: a hybrid model of cybersecurity management in the Republic of Uzbekistan” to focus on various factors of cyber threats.


Nicholas Cameron, Partner, Head of Forensic in the Middle East, KPMG Lower Gulf, discussed the situation in the UAE and the Gulf countries in the context of the development of the banking regulatory landscape.


Sanjar Suleymanov, Head of Visa Money Movement Solutions in Ukraine, Georgia, CIS & SEE countries, noted that Uzbekistan was ranked fifth among key money transfer players across the CISSEE region.


At the session “Payment methods. Best business cases of retail banking”, he made a report dedicated to seamless movement of money in the context of global trends, innovative solutions and specific business cases. The expert focused on modern trends in real-time remittances, noting that this segment still has a great potential for the development and improvement of services. He called the state the driving force of the sector development, mentioning the role of both government-initiated remittances and the CBDC and stablecoins.

Farrukh Mahkamov, Deputy Board Chairman, AloqaBank, noted that every fifth payment in Uzbekistan is serviced by AloqaBank. The speaker analyzed the prospects for the digital transformation of the bank, its payment products and business, noting that in 2023, his bank accounted for about 20% of payments made in the republic, for the total amount of 50 trillion soums.


He paid special attention to the AloqaBank payment application, the user base of which grew 2.1 times to reach 2.5 million people. Meanwhile, this figure is expected to double by the end of the year to reach 5 million users, provided that the current growth rates remain the same. Among the most interesting digitalization projects under development, the speaker named the automation of alimony payments.

In his report, Nurbol Omarkhanov, Director for International Business Development, PayPorter, informed about the company’s large-scale plans to develop their business as an international payment aggregator in Uzbekistan.


Uzum Bank offered a QR code based installment service to 7 thousand merchants in Uzbekistan. The announcement was made by Alexander Filippovich, Board Chairman, Uzum Bank. According to the expert, cross-border payments and payments using QR codes are very popular in the republic.


Speaking at the Digital Uzbekistan PLUS-Forum, Timur Altybaev, CCO, Airba FinTech, offered a brief overview of the situation in the retail sector. In his report “FinTech – the digital future of Uzbekistan, an innovative project” he analyzed the role of Airba FinTech in simplifying access to financial services for retail clients. Among the projects successfully implemented by Airba FinTech in the Uzbekistan market, the expert named installment services, digital wallets, Islamic finance, superapps, crypto business and more.


As Timur Altybaev says, “we help our partners to increase sales and offer our consumers multiple options to choose from.”

Presentation “Payment technologies: memories of the future” was delivered by Mikhail Rogov, Deputy CEO, M4Bank


The session “Trajectories of the banking market development in Uzbekistan. Promising solutions. Digitalization of SMB” moderated by Ulugbek Tavakkalov, Board Chairman, Madad Invest Bank, discussed how SMEs can benefit from the digital transformation of the banking industry.


Bolat Mynbaev, Partner, Head of Strategy&Operations Group, KPMG Caucasus and Central Asia, made a presentation “Small and medium businesses. SMB as a catalyst for the development of modern economies.” He noted that the Small and Medium Business Development Fund has already been established in Uzbekistan. Today, the financing need of SMEs in the country is $11.8 billion. 40% of SMEs face a lack of financing.


Akrom Nadzhimov, Head of Sales and Business Segment Services, Ucell, spoke about the scoring system and lead generation. He described, in particular, the key advantages of scoring such as reducing NPL figures and increasing the loan volume.


Dauren Sartaev, Deputy Board Chairman of Halyk Bank, a major lender in Central Asia, offered the audience statistical data, noting that SMB is not a right segment for every bank.


Bayan Abildaeva, Head of Corporate Business, Tenge Bank, shared her point of view on the same topic. In general, she noted that the financial atmosphere in Uzbekistan today is quite conductive to the development of the SME segment.


In turn, Mikhail Loginov, Business Development Program Lead, SAP, made a report “Digital transformation of the banking industry – market leaders' best practices.” The speaker informed in detail about the best international practices in this area.


As part of the round tableCapital market of Uzbekistan. Accelerating investor access”, experts tried to answer the difficult question of what is to be done to accelerate investor access to the capital market of Uzbekistan.


Round table “Capital market of Uzbekistan. Accelerating investor access”


The round table “Sustainable development of microfinance” discussed the issues related to microfinance organizations in the Republic of Uzbekistan in the context of finding an answer to the question “How to increase debt collection rate?”

The speakers came to the conclusion that in Uzbekistan today, involvement of an external entity is an effective tool for any business that has difficulties in debt collection.


Round table “Sustainable development of microfinance”

A discussion also took place within the framework of the round table “Current problems of the HR market of Uzbekistan and their solutions. Real cases from those best”.


Round table “Current problems of the HR market of Uzbekistan and their solutions. Real cases from those best”

Topical issues were discussed by the participants of the session “Modern service infrastructure. Cash and non-cash circulation. ATM and POS terminal networks”, moderated by Maxim Daryoshin, an ATM networks expert with 15 years’ background with Alfa-Bank, Tinkoff (now T-Bank) and VTB. He also presented a report “ATM network efficiency: not just costs! Answer to the question: Why are ATMs needed?”


Dilshod Kurbonboev, General Director, Republican Collection Service of the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan, informed how the cash collection service works.


Kirill Ovsyannikov, Deputy General Director for Strategic Development at BS/2, and Umid Khodzhibekov, Head of Operations and Retail Business Control at Ipak Yoli Bank, spoke on the topic “SMART-ATM in Uzbekistan.”


Kirill Ovsyannikov


Umid Khodzhibekov

Denis Kokhaev, Head of Business Technical Support, Kapitalbank, spoke about modern ATMs: how cash acceptance and dispensing devices are integrated into the bank’s digital ecosystem.


Helen Amos, Senior Associate, RBR Data Services (London, UK), reported on the topic “International review of non-cash payment methods.” She acquainted the audience with current global trends in this area.


Speaking at the session “Security. Cyber ​​threats, social engineering and other current challenges”, Deputy Head of Central Bank’s Cybersecurity Centre “CERT-CBUBehzod Khalikov informed about the Central Bank’s strategy to ensure cybersecurity and prevent fraud in banking and payment systems. He paid special attention to the role of CERT-CBU in solving these problems, including interaction with commercial and government agencies, which is an indispensable prerequisite of effective countering the criminal community.


Artem Saidov, Head of Information Security, HAYOT BANK, made a presentation “Cybersecurity as a business driver.”


Alexander Mamaev, regional manager, CIS, Palo Alto Networks, outlined his company’s innovative approach to transforming cybersecurity.


Malika Abduyeva, Head of Business-oriented solutions for banks and Risks and compliance departments at EXPERA, said that the key tasks of the bank today include guaranteed protection of client funds, effective fraud identification and prevention, and gaining a reputation as a reliable organization safe to cooperate with. As regards the Uzbekistan market, the speaker drew attention to the importance of having successful experience in the local implementation of a selected anti-fraud system. According to her, “now is when we must act!”


In his speech, Iskandar Aisaev, Head of Advanced Training at the Center for Cyber ​​Security SUE, focused on the aspects of hardware and software certification for compliance with information and cyber security requirements.


Dell Technologies is helping to make digitalization processes in Central Asia reliable and secure. The conclusion was made by Pavel Zorin, Storage Platforms Solutions Sales, Dell Technologies Uzbekistan & Central Asia, when speaking at the Forum. He analyzed new information security risks resulting from digitalization processes in a variety of market sectors and areas, as well as the opportunities that open up in the sphere of digital data security enforcement.  


Olzhas Satiev, CEO, TSARKA GROUP (Kazakhstan), devoted his presentation to the practical aspects of modern cybersecurity.


Albert Khamzin, Director, Cyber ​​Park, reviewed the implementation of measures to develop the cybersecurity sphere in Uzbekistan.


Alexey Golenishchev, independent expert. 20+ years in TOP commercial banks and in a mega-regulator (anti-fraud, cybersecurity), analyzed current trends in cyber fraud and respective countermeasures.


Konstantin Sergeev, Head of Association of Retail Security Experts, Head of retail economic security group under the Chamber of commerce and industry of the Russian Federation, dwelled on the capabilities of a multi-level security architecture.


At the session “Transformation and development of IT infrastructure. Software and Hardware”, moderated by Maxim Mitusov, an expert in payments and remittances (ex-Yandex.Fintech, ex-SBP), the participants discussed the issues of transformation of the financial sector under the influence of new technologies.


Anton Kvaskov, CCO at Sarkor Telecom, and Elena Belobrova, Head of Business Development, Yandex Cloud, presented a report “Transformation of customer experience through the introduction of a voice bot in the contact centers”. It was noted that robot models capable of understanding and speaking different languages ​​have recently been of particular interest.


Alexander Kuchuk, Business Development Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Tarantool, spoke about innovative technology-based acceleration of the IT systems operation.


Deniss Filipovs, Head of Strategic Business Development, Tietoevry Banking, devoted his speech to the issues of effective monetization of digital transformation.


Grigory Pryalukhin, Senior Business Development Manager, Lenovo ISG, EECA, provided a real case as an example to inform what flexible software-defined solutions his company uses for digital banking tasks.


Oleg Bersenev, Founder and CEO, MyBPM, spoke about modern specifics of IT companies’ operation.


Alexey Ledenev, Head of CRM centre of expertise, NOTA MODUS (vendor NOTA), presented a report “Transformation of business applications: Agile, microservices and the new reality of information security.” He described the main trends that significantly influence the creation and evolution of business applications.


Mirat Akhmetsadykov, CEO, MOST Holding, analyzed the processes of financial inclusion seen today, when niche neobanks facilitate a better access to financial services.

Alexey Mordvinov, CTO, HamkorLab, HamkorBank Digital Division, spoke about building in-house innovations in the bank, describing in detail the specifics of the classical approach and modern trends.


Ruslan Omarov, CEO, First Credit Bureau of Kazakhstan, chose factoring platforms as the topic of his speech, considering them as a new step towards digitalization.

Ruslan Omarov.jpg

Roman Soloviev, Managing Partner, E-ngineers Europe AB, raised such a pressing topic as using a business processes digitalization platform to cope with the problems of accelerating the launch of innovations. The speaker delved into the main development prospects and challenges for business, which are inseparably linked to the digitalization.


Vitaly Kopysov, Head of Innovation, Sinara Bank Group, called the topic of his speech “Open Banking. Evolution".


The online speech of Dmitry Kolesnikov, Cash & Liquidity Management Leader, Ozon Bank, who literally “unscrambled” the trends in international fintech, resonated broadly among the audience.

The first day of Digital Uzbekistan was also marked by a series of significant agreements signed by and between market participants. So, on June 12, agreements were signed between CyberNet and Alif, as well as between CyberNet and Oasis Credit. The agreements provide for grants intended for the implementation of an innovative AI solution in business.


CyberNet и Alif


CyberNet и Oasis Credit

Also, BS/2 and Trustbank signed a cooperation agreement.


Another large-scale partnership agreement was signed between the First Credit Bureau of Kazakhstan and Yangi Group Uzbekistan.


Such a significant step in the development of partnership relations will open new horizons and opportunities for both organizations, thus facilitating creation of a powerful factoring platform that will bring significant benefits to the financial sector of Uzbekistan. The agreement was signed by CEO Ruslan Omarov, on the part of the First Credit Bureau of Kazakhstan, and by CEO Davron Ismailov on the part of Yangi Group Uzbekistan. According to Forum participants, the newly formed partnership not only strengthens economic ties between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but also sets a pattern for the entire region, demonstrating that joint efforts and strategic partnerships can lead to significant success and mutually beneficial development.

As we promised, the Digital Uzbekistan PLUS-Forum participants were the first to learn the names of the PLUS Galaxy Award winners. At the end of the first day of the event, the PLUS Galaxy Award ceremony took place on the terrace of the Brasserie restaurant at the International Hotel. The most innovative, socially significant and effective projects in the field of banking, fintech and retail were recognized.

The PLUS Galaxy Award initiative is primarily aimed to identify the most interesting solutions and draw attention to the talented teams of Uzbekistan that have implemented the most innovative, socially significant and effective projects, while giving them broad information support.

Moreover, 16 categories of the Award include two special awards designed to recognize personal merits for the financial and retail community.

The Competition Committee unanimously recognized Madad Invest Bank Board Chairman Ulugbek Tavakkalov the winner of the special PLUS Galaxy Award “Best 2024 Publication on the PLUS Portal”.

The special PLUS Galaxy Award “For Active Participation in Building PLUS Group Information Channels for the Countries of Central Asia” was awarded to journalist Oksana Malosabirova, editor of the FinTech & Retail CA channel.

 After the official part of the event, the VIP guests were treated to a foot tapping performance by the cover band Di Live Band. 


Digital Uzbekistan. Day two

As part of the PLUS-Forum, a business breakfast “Development of non-cash payments. Achievements, results and plan. National payment system HUMO” took place. It was attended by representatives of banks, the retail sector and fintech firms, who touched upon a wide range of issues. The issue of difficulties in the universal QR code implementation was raised among others.

When discussing the competition among fintechs, banks and the retail sector, as well as key challenges and prospects for payment organizations, HUMO Director Shukhratbek Kurbanov noted that the CLICK and HUMO systems in Uzbekistan appeared against all odds, rather than owing to support. However, banks are now developing energetically and seeking to create their proprietary mobile applications, which stirs up rivalry in this sector.


Similarly to the first day of the Digital Uzbekistan PLUS-Forum, the second day of the event was marked by the signing of a number of important agreements, which, according to experts, will have a significant impact on the further market evolution.

So, PLUS Group CEO Konstantin Grizov and Vladimir Norov, Chairman of the Association of Artificial Intelligence of Uzbekistan, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the PLUS Group and the Association of Artificial Intelligence of Uzbekistan.


Also, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the PLUS Group and SBO Insights. The document was signed by Konstantin Grizov and SBO Insights co-owner&partner Otabek Nasyrov.


Moreover, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the PLUS Group represented by Konstantin Grizov and INFOLine represented by CEO Ivan Fedyakov.


Also, memorandums of cooperation were signed between SBO Insights and the Association of Artificial Intelligence of Uzbekistan.


Besides, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the PLUS Group, represented by Konstantin Grizov, and the E-Commerce Association of Uzbekistan represented by its Chairman Muzaffar Azamov.


The first session of the second day, “Islamic finance and Islamic banking in the countries of Central Asia,” was dedicated to Islamic finance and moderated by AD Wealth Founder&Managing Partner Alisher A. Jumanov. He also made a report “Development of Islamic finance in Uzbekistan and Central Asia: challenges and opportunities.”


Lazizjon Abdalimov, Chief Specialist of the Division for Investor Relations, Capital Market Infrastructure and Development of Financial Products, National Agency for Prospective Projects, dwelled on the topic “Islamic securities as a financing and investment tool. Prospects for Islamic securities in Uzbekistan”. During the discussion, he highlighted the key problems and prospects for the development of Islamic finance in Uzbekistan. Among the main obstacles, the expert named insufficient financial literacy, lack of expertise in the professional community, lack of modern IT tools for selling Islamic banking products, as well as regulatory barriers.


He emphasized that, despite these difficulties, Uzbekistan sees a growing interest in Islamic finance. To prove his words, Lazizjon Abdalimov cited data from a recent survey that involved over 200 business actors, 27 commercial banks and nearly 5 thousand individuals.

Reporting on “Islamic Finance: Today’s Realities and Expectations”, Bakhrom Numonov, APEX BANK Board Chairman, Association of Islamic Finance and Takaful Council Chairman, informed that the Regulations on provision of Islamic finance services by MFOs are already pending review. In the future, this service will be offered by a number of commercial banks.


Jahongir Imamnazarov, Co-owner&CEO of Islamic Business and Finance (IsBF), spoke about the creative economy, where a creative approach is of utmost importance, with the migration of the financial sector to online environment being a very important aspect thereof.


Vladimir Norov, Chairman of the Central Asian Association of Artificial Intelligence, spoke about the rapid expansion of Islamic banking in Europe (where 44 million people are Muslims) and the United States (where the number of Muslims is now 3.5 million to grow to estimated 8.1 million by 2050).


Mikhail Yurchenko, Deputy Managing Director for Central Region, Compass Plus, offered the audience an analysis of the issue “Islamic banking as a platform for the development of the Islamic economies.” He noted that banks, in general, are willing to launch such services. The potential effect of introducing such solutions is obvious: the flow-in of fresh internal and external finance into the economy.


IMAN CORP. Co-founder Timur Khozhdaev chose to speak on “The Way of IMAN”.


Farida Dadazhanova, Business Development Director, FIDO-BIZNES, speaking at the session “Transformation process 2024. Transforming banking into Finance as a Service”, discussed the new Islamic counter solution based on a microservice architecture.


 Data Sapience CCO Alexey Rundasov explained how banks can earn more by working effectively with data.


International expert in change management Ekaterina Genkina discussed effective implementation of innovations through a human-centric change management approach.


Evgeniy Gertsen, Head of Digital Transformation, Otbasy bank, presented his report “Industrial Revolution 4.0, or How Otbasy Bank carries out urgent digitalization of the bank promptly.”


Sergey Sukhodolsky made a presentation “Low-Code/No-Code: Digital transformation of the bank.” He drew attention to key changes in market trends and client needs.


Evgeniy Ponomarev, Director of the Centre for International Development, U-BSS, and Anton Gaivoronsky, Head of Remote Banking Services for Legal Entities, ANORBANK (Uzbekistan), reviewed the benefits of comprehensive digitalization of customer service by the example of a unique case and shared their best practices of digital transformation.


Zhanargul Izimova, FI digital transformation practice leader, Strategy&, part of PwC, informed about the key lessons learnt from the digital transformation of banks.


CapyGroup CEO Oleg Chanchikov delivered a presentation “Applied embedded finance - from concept to application.”

The prospects for using DFAs and cryptocurrencies in settlements between states were discussed by participants during the session “Crypto-industry. Current state, trends, forecasts. Asset tokenization, fintech platforms and distributed data ledgers. Blockchain”.

The session was moderated by Andrey Mikhailishin, Head of the Cross-Border Settlements Commission, RF CCI;


Head of the BRICS Pay Task Force, BRICS Business Council. He also presented a report titled “Payment infrastructure of the future.”

Maria Bolobonova, lawyer, Partner at Belykh and Partners Bar Association, director of TechLawLab, Advisor to NAUFOR President, Member of the Expert Council of the RF State Duma on the legislative regulation of cryptocurrencies, spoke in more detail about the use of DFAs in settlements between states.


Askarjon Zakirov, Head of crypto-assets turnover development, National Agency of Prospective Projects, reported on the topic “Regulation and development of the crypto-assets turnover in the Republic of Uzbekistan.”


Sherzod Abdulkasimov, Managing Director, PraeLegal Uzbekistan, delivered a presentation titled “Crypto investigations and return of crypto assets.”


Sergey Bezdelov, Director, Industrial Mining Association, spoke about the future of industrial-grade mining. He also acquainted the audience with practical cases.


Vice President of the International Payments Alliance Philip Larin spoke about the evolution of cross-border payments methods.


Alexander Partin, Attorney, Partner, Privacy Advocates, Co-founder of RPPA.Office (rppa.pro), presented his online-report “Privacy issues when using blockchain technology: how to increase effectiveness and reduce risks”.

The session “Digital remote banking. Banking and non-banking services on financial platforms. Remote identification" was moderated by Gabit Nurkenov, Managing Director, Halyk Bank; ex Chief Ecosystem Officer / Deputy CEO at Jusan, ex Tele2.


Nadir Parpiev, Head of Service for Promoting the digital signature key registration centres, Ministry of Digital Technologies of the Republic of Uzbekistan, spoke about the introduction of cloud signature in Uzbekistan.

Ibragim Altamirov, Deputy Board Chairman, Eurasian Bank, spoke about the current position of the bank, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in December 2024. Today the bank is among the top 10 banks in Central Asia. The bank is actively developing the ecosystem model. According to the speaker, the return on investment for the marketplace concept is at least 4 years.


Evgeniy Zaika, Head of Bank Sector Development, VisionLabs, analyzed the specific features of biometrics used in the financial industry. In his report, he discussed in detail the advantages of VisionLabs algorithms, including resistance to fraud attacks. As recent international tests have shown, the company was recognized in three out of five categories as “number one” in the world. According to the speaker’s forecasts, it is Uzbekistan that may soon become a digital leader among the countries of Central Asia, given the youthful population and broad government support.


German Mikhaylov, Head of Sales in Financial Sector, Speech Technology Centre, said that the future of voice biometrics and speech analytics lies in artificial intelligence. The speaker examined aspects of using AI technologies - voice services and chat bots - to create high-quality and effective remote banking services.


Damir Kakiev, Owner of Tekmates and Leader of Home Credit Bank business, spoke about the pitfalls of digitalization of banking services.


Ulugbek Shakirov, Business Development Manager, UZINFOCOM, analyzed how biometric identification in the financial sector improves security and convenience.

At the session “Fintech. Big data. Artificial intelligence. Strategic vectors of the 21st century”


Dilnoza Mirzoeva, Manager, Valuation&Deal Advisory, KPMG Caucasus and Central Asia, analyzed the trends and growth prospects for the payments, POS financing and BNPL markets in Uzbekistan.


Dmitry Makarenko, Co-founder, Director for Development and Strategy, SOTA AI, 3iTech, shared his ten years’ experience in implementing speech analytics in the organization of banking products sales. He reviewed scenarios for increasing revenue through the use of this technology in the context of the impact on parameters such as the number of contacts, conversion, average check and the number of transactions with one client.


Georgy Taktakidze, Senior Business Development Manager, Andersen (Uzbekistan), explained how to be more competitive and attractive in the fight for technical specialists. He reviewed the company's three main collaboration models: dedicated teams, turnkey product development, and technology consulting.


Alisher Yelyubaev, Managing Director for Development of Government Services, Eurasian Bank, chose artificial intelligence technology in the construction industry as the topic of his presentation. He noted that AI technologies are actively supported by the government in Kazakhstan; just remember the draft Digital Code of the Republic that is under development. Meanwhile, about 16 million square meters of housing floor space are commissioned annually in Kazakhstan.

Against this background, the problem of hoodwinked investors is still relevant. And here, the account monitoring banking system based on the ‘coloured’ money technology jumped in to help.


Dmitry Dolbilin, CDO, TBC Group, and Stanislav Primo, COO, Head of DWH Practice, in their joint presentation “How to build a Data oasis in the desert: the experience of seasoned pioneers” named the key problems of working with data and discussed the principles on which they built their own data platform.


Roman Dyakonov, Chief Data Officer, CLICK, discussed data management in the context of digital transformation. He noted that the effectiveness of data management now determines the competitiveness of a business and expands the choice of its customers at the same time. Therefore, if data management was of a recommendatory nature just a while ago, today it is a critical condition for the success of any activity.


Olga Yarigina, Business Development Advisor to Board Chairman, Bank 131, chose to speak on the topic “Neobanking: reality and prospects”.


Kadir Yilmaz, Sales and Marketing Director, Piramit MALL project, analyzed the effect of changing shopping habits on investments in shopping malls.


The round table “Retail sector in Uzbekistan. The current state of e-Commerce. Key trends. New challenges and promising solutions” was dedicated to the transformation of retail in Central Asia.


Discussions at another round table on the second day of the PLUS-Forum “Strategy for the development of the venture capital market in Uzbekistan” evoked a wide response. 

The inter-sectoral round table “Retail Banking Business” brought together experts from a variety of sectors.RNB_0013.jpg


The attendees discussed a number of burning issues such as increasing consumer financial literacy, the need to improve the consumer experience, new approaches of banks to customer-centricity, powerful financial models for the product portfolio, expanding the geographical footprint of banks in the regions, and more.

The delegates agreed that the PLUS-Forum Digital Uzbekistan contributed significantly to the development of the financial and retail industries of Central Asia and other countries including CIS members. 

The event brings together representatives of the banking sector, retail, e-commerce, payment systems, solution providers, market regulators and government agencies, leading industry experts who are well aware of the current state and trends in the development of digitalization of the financial sector and mass remote services.


Read a report from the Forum exhibition area in one of our upcoming publications!


See you at the PLUS-Forums 2024!

We invite you to join our programme of large-scale international events. Registration and receipt of application forms are already open for Speakers, Sponsors and Partners!

• “Payments and Cash Circulation”, September 10–11, 2024, Moscow, Russia.

• “Digital Kazakhstan”, October 30–31, 2024, Almaty, Kazakhstan.

• “Retail Central Asia”, November 20–21, 2024, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

• “Digital Tajikistan”, November 26, 2024, Dushanbe, Tajikistan.