The spread of modern ICTs can increase rural residents’ access to information and services. The use of IT technologies in the agricultural sector, farms and small enterprises can lead to an improvement in living conditions in rural and remote areas. The speed and results of the digital transformation of society depend on how accessible these technologies are to women and young people.
The main purpose of the research was to identify existing practices and perceptions of digitalization in rural communities of the Kyrgyz Republic, to assess the degree of penetration of IT technologies at the regional level and their impact on the rural population.
In the course of DESK STUDY, based on official statistics, the level of access of rural residents, primarily women and youth, to IT technologies was studied. With 100% of households in the Kyrgyz Republic equipped with electricity, 76% of the country’s population has a stable uninterrupted supply, 68.6% in rural areas. In 2020, there were 1102 mobile numbers per 1,000 people. The proportion of women with a mobile phone is more than 93% on average in the country. The smartphone penetration rate is 60-65%. The number of active Internet users has grown 1.8 times in 10 years (from 2,815 thousand to 5,174 thousand). Internet access in the households of Issyk-Kul region is 71.4%, the indicators for Osh are better not only than the national average, they are ahead of the capital (79.4%), but in Osh region only 59.2% of households have access. In Batken – 50.8%. Low indicators on the availability of computers (27.1%) indicate that the Internet is not used enough for work, educational or professional purposes. In cities, the indicator is more than twice as high as in rural areas: 38.7% and 17.9%, respectively. Smartphones are the main instrument of digital content consumption.