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International IT Forum in Yugra Brings Together 48 Countries

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The 8th International IT Forum including the BRICS and SCO countries opened in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Yugra, with attendance reaching a record-high of about 1,500 experts from 48 countries, a representative of the Yugra Government Department for Public and External Relations told RIA Novosti.

KHANTY-MANSIYSK (Sputnik) — The main theme of this year’s forum is A Digital Region: Creating New Opportunities for Citizens. Taking part in the opening ceremony were the Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov, Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Yugra Natalia Komarova, the Minister of Communications of South Africa Faith Muthambi, as well as representatives of China, India, Brazil and Benin.

“This is the first time that we welcoming such large and representative delegations with the heads of foreign government bodies. Each country at the forum is represented by a high-ranking official and prominent professionals. All this creates an environment conducive for establishing a mutually-beneficial dialogue on IT-related matters,” Yugra Governor Natalia Komarova said in her remarks during the opening session.

She went on to say that this year’s forum is also special because children are at the heart of the program with an exhibition, IT for All, was launched alongside the forum in Khanty-Mansiysk. The exhibition mostly targets children and teenagers, offering robot competitions, workshops on computer animation and interactive mobile applications.

“Today’s school students are already experts and know what technologies will be relevant for the IT market in the future. This means that we, adults, have to take advantage of their expert advice,” the Governor pointed out.

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In his remarks, Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov thanked the Yugra Government for being consistent in its efforts to develop the forum. “I strongly believe events like this one to be extremely important, since they provide a platform for outlining and discussing a common agenda, and facilitate ties between government bodies, as well as businesses from various countries,” he said.

The minister noted that efforts to diversify the existing development model of the global IT market, that is still dominated by a single country and a handful of companies, should be on everyone’s agenda, and BRICS countries are ready to combine their efforts to deliver on this objective.

Mr Nikiforov also said that Russian developers have great potential, which makes it possible to export Russian IT solutions to BRICS and SCO countries, while also benefiting from the high-tech solutions of its partners. “What matters the most for me is that this IT-forum has become an annual event. After last year’s meeting we were able to organize the first-ever meeting of BRICS ministers of communications,” he pointed out.

The South African Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi said she was impressed by the fact that Russians created so many projects for the benefit of their country, adding that it was a project on telemedicine that caught her attention, enabling doctors from across BRICS countries to keep in touch with each other.

More than 20 themed sessions and roundtable discussions are expected to take place at the IT Forum, along with the signing on the sidelines of the event of nine agreements to develop Russian IT and promote high-technology cooperation within BRICS.

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