efe-epaL'Hospitalet, Spain

The digitization of industry, large companies and state institutions in the country is one of the main priorities of the government of Kazakhstan, which plans to implement 5G technology in its main cities over the next five years.

The goal for 5G technology is "to reach at least the main cities of Kazakhstan in the next five years," the CEO of national telecommunications company Kazakhtelecom, Kuanyshbek Yessekeyev, told EFE during the Mobile World Congress, which kicked off here Monday at the Gran Via fairgrounds outside Barcelona.

Kazakhtelecom has signed a collaboration agreement with the Swedish multinational telecommunications company Ericsson, with which the Central Asian nation is working to develop and implement new and better connections in the country thanks to an alliance sealed two years ago.

"We want to digitize the state of Kazakhstan," the representative of the country's Ministry of Information and Communication, Vitaliy Yaroshenko, said at the opening of Kazakhstan's pavilion at the congress.

"Ericsson has its own digital solutions and we are interested in their helping us to digitize industry," said Yaroshenko, who heads the Kazakh government's telecommunications committee.

Yaroshenko stressed the "growth trend" of technology companies in the country and left open the door for the arrival of new firms that contribute to expanding the technological footprint of Kazakh institutions.

Yaroshenko said internet penetration is Kazakhstan was currently at 70 percent, but local companies and institutions are still in the process of "digitalization," which should be complete in the coming years.

Among the measures to achieve this, the executive plans to improve the "technological ecosystem" of large companies, promote training courses, adapt the school curriculum to increase the "technological skills" of children, as well as accelerate the "transition of the digitalization of public services."

All these measures are to be put in place through 2022 and are part of the "Kazakhstan digital" program, which the country's government launched last year as a "crucial target" for economic development.

One of the innovations that most attracted the attention of visitors of the Kazakhstan Pavilion is a biometric system that recognizes the age, gender and even the mood of the person who is being recorded by the program.

This system of facial, voice and fingerprint recognition is one of Kazakhtelecom's projects aimed at improving the performance of banks, airports, governments and even medical or law institutions.

New methods of geolocation, blockchain, electronic commerce or financial technology are other fields being developed by the telecommunications company, whose volume of investments in 2018 was 37 million dollars.

This edition of Barcelona's Mobile World Congress is the second in which Kazakhtelecom has participated. It also took part in the MWC Shanghai.