Conference & Forum

CAREC Think Tanks Development Forum Embracing Digital Technology for Sustainable Economic Development

16 Aug 2023 - 17 Aug 2023 Urumqi (hybrid)

As a knowledge arm of the CAREC Program, the CAREC Insititute creates knowledge and connects various knowledge producers in the region. The forum’s thematic focus and proposed topics are aligned with the five pillars of CAREC Digital Strategy 2030 (supported by TA6602). Organized annually under the auspices of the CAREC Think Tank Network (CTTN), the CAREC Think Tank Development Forum (CTTDF) has become the region’s most prominent event. Since its inception in 2016, every year, the forum convenes prominent thought leaders, practitioners, experts, government and business leaders, development partners, and media representatives from the CAREC region and beyond and provides a platform for experience sharing and candid discussions on regional policy challenges to find sustainable solutions for collective benefit. As in previous years, the forum is co-organized with the ADB-PRC Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative (RKSI). 

The seventh think tank development forum will occur on 16-17 August 2023 in Urumqi, the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The forum will discuss, among others, (i) findings of CTTN Research Grants Program (RGP) studies; (ii) the role of digital technology in spurring economic development; (iii) digital strategies, governance, and infrastructure; (iv) digital divide and policies for boosting digital skills and competencies; and (v) e-commerce, governance, financial inclusion, and financial technology.


10:00 – 10:40Session I. Opening Ceremony

Welcome Remarks
Mr. Kabir Jurazoda, Director, CAREC Institute

Opening Remarks
Mr. Shixin Chen, Vice President, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Manila, Philippines

Opening Address
Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, the Export-Import Bank of China, the PRC

Keynote Address
Mr. Zhijun Cheng, Director-General, International Economic and Financial Cooperation Department, Ministry of Finance, the PRC

Keynote Address
Mr. Weijun Chen, Executive Vice Governor, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)

Group photo
10:40 – 11:40Session II. Context Setting

Ayumi Konishi, Senior Advisor to CEO, Multilateral Cooperation Center for Development Finance (MCDF), Beijing, the PRC

Analyzing the Role of Digital Technology in Spurring Sustainable Economic Growth (20 minutes)
Mr. Thomas Abell, Director, Digital Technology for Development Division, ADB (Virtually)

Digital Strategies, Infrastructure, and Investment – CAREC Region’s Readiness for Digital Adoption (20 minutes)
Mr. Talant Sultanov, Chair and Founder, the Center for Strategic Initiatives, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic

Open Discussion (20 minutes)
11:40 – 11:55Coffee Break
11:55 – 12:55Session III. CTTN Research Grants Program (RGP) Presentations: Country Case Studies

Mr. Roman Mogilevskii, Senior Economist, CWRC, ADB, Manila, Philippines

Leveraging Digital Technology for Green, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth
Moderator: Mr. Roman Mogilevskii, Senior Economist, CWRC, ADB, Manila, Philippines

Kazakhstan Case Study
Ms. Albina Muratbekova, Senior Research Fellow, Eurasian Research Institute (ERI)

Kyrgyz Republic Case Study
Dr. Burulcha Sulaimanova, Researcher, OSCE Academy

Pakistan Case Study
Mr. Asif Javed, Senior Research Associate, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)

Uzbekistan Case Study
Mr. Farrukh Khakimov, Mr. Farrukh Khakimov, Head of Department on Foreign Policy and Security, Development Strategy Center (DSC)

Open Discussion (25 minutes)
12:55 – 14:00Session IV. Bridging Digital Divide and Boosting Digital Skills

Mr. Artem Levenkov, Head of Socioeconomic Analysis and IFIs, Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD), Moscow, Russia

Technological Adoption, Inequalities, and Implications for Labor Market (15 minutes)
Dr. Xiaojun Feng, Associate Professor of Sociology, China Agricultural University, Beijing China

Reskilling and Upskilling Women for Bridging Digital Divide in the CAREC Region (15 minutes)
Ms. Ana Pashalishvili, Programme Specialist, Women’s Entrepreneurship Acceleration, Europe & Central Asia Regional Office, UN Women, Istanbul, Türkiye

Bridging the Quality of Education through Digital Technologies using the Flipped Classroom Approach (15 minutes)
Mr. Syed Hassan Alsagoff, Manager, Science, Technology & Innovation Cooperation & Capacity Development Dept, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Open Discussion (25 minutes)
14:00 – 15:00Lunch Break
15:00 – 16:20Session V. RKSI South-South Learning Seminar: Digital Governance and Commerce

Mr. Hsiao Chink (Benzhe) Tang Head, ADB-PRC Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative (RKSI), Asian Development Bank

The PRC’s E-commerce Success Story: Role of Government and Policy Implications for the CAREC Countries (15 minutes)
Dr. Sherry Tao Kong, Associate Professor, Peking University, Beijing, China

Role of Private Sector in E-commerce: Learning from Alibaba’s Success Story (15 minutes)
Mr. Remon Moes, Senior Manager Public Affairs, Alibaba

TradeTech for Trade Facilitation and Regional Integration: Pakistan Single Window (PSW) Initiative (15 minutes)
Mr. Syed Shakeel Shah, Director-General, Reforms and Automation, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Pakistan

Building Digital Nation through Optimization of Public Services in Mongolia (15 minutes)
Ms. Enkhtulga Ganbat, Specialist of Cross-Sector Coordination, Ministry of Digital Development and Communication, Mongolia

Open Discussion (20 minutes)
16:20 –16:40Coffee Break
16:40 – 17:45Session VI. Financial Inclusion and Digital Finance

Dr. Yixin Yao, Senior Research Fellow, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), Tokyo, Japan

The State of Financial Inclusion in the CAREC Region (20 minutes)
Mr. Khalid Umar, Chief, Strategic Planning Division (SPD), CAREC Institute

Role of WeChat in deepening financial inclusion in China – Policy Lessons for the CAREC Region (20 minutes)
Ms. Jieru Ba, Senior Researcher, Tencent Research Institute, Beijing, China

Open Discussion (25 minutes)
17:45 – 18:00First Day Recap

10:00 – 11:40Session VII. A Booming CAREC Startup Ecosystem under CAREC Digital Strategy 2030

Mr. Roman Mogilevskii, Senior Economist, CWRC, ADB, Manila, Philippines

CAREC Digital Strategy Pillars: Strengthening Digital Foundations (30 minutes)
Mr. Naveed Zafar Durrani, Senior Consultant, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Singapore

An Overview of Initiatives under the CAREC Program: Startup Map, CIN, University Startup Challenge, and CAREC Innovation Decoded (20 minutes)
Ms. Shuqi Su, ADB Consultant, China

The Development of the CAREC Startup Ecosystem and its Impact on the Broader Digital Economy (20 minutes)
Mr. Eli David, CEO, StartupBlink, Israel/ADB Consultant (Online)

Open Discussion (30 minutes)
11:40 – 12:00Coffee Break
12:00 – 13:00Session VIII. CAREC Think Tank Network (CTTN) Voices

Moderator: Norbert Funke, Director, CCAMTAC, IMF, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Panel Discussion on the Role of Think Tanks amid Geoeconomic Uncertainties (30 minutes)

Panelist I: Dr. Zhang Jin, Vice President, Center for International Knowledge on Development (CKID), Beijing, China
Panelist II: Mr. Zeeshan Salahuddin, Director, Center for Regional and Global Connectivity, Tabadlab, Islamabad, Pakistan
Panelist III: Dr. Tuvshintugs Batdelger, Director, Economic Research Institute (ERI), Mongolia
Panelist IV: Mr. Mahir Humbatov, Chairman of the Board, Economic Scientific Research Institute (ESRI), Baku, Azerbaijan

CTTN Progress Report (10 minutes)

CTTN Blog Launch (20 minutes)

Suggestions and Feedback on CTTN (30 minutes)
13:00 – 13:50CTTN Progress and Initiatives by the Secretariat

Mr. Khalid Umar, Chief, Strategic Planning Division/ Coordinator CTTN, CAREC Institute

CTTN Progress Report
Mr. Batsaikhan Zagdragchaa, Senior Strategic Planning Specialist, CAREC Institute

CTTN Blog Launch
Mr. Dzhovid Khuseinov, Networking and Partnerships Specialist, CAREC Institute

Suggestions and Feedback on CTTN
13:50 – 14:00Closing Reflections and Acknowledgements
Dr. Jingjing Huang, Deputy Director, CAREC Institute
14:00 – 15:00Lunch Break
15:30 –17:30Networking and Visit to Euro-Asia Commodity and Trade Expo

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