UAE supports Davos plan to upskill a billion people

Governments must act now to future proof skills of young people

Khalfan Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Future Foundation, United Arab Emirates captured during the Press Conference: Reskilling Revolution: Better Skills for a Billion People by 2030 at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 22 January. Media Village - Press Conference Room. Copyright by World Economic Forum/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary
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A 10-year global programme to improve skills and training for a billion people by 2030 has been backed by the UAE at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Government officials from the UAE were among the first to offer support for the ambitious plan by signing up to an agreement at the international summit.

The co-operation bond aims to develop education and training to make more people ‘work ready’ for a changing labour market.

Through the agreement, we seek to find appropriate solutions and invest in human capital, which is a major national priority for us in the UAE

It was also backed by several other nations including America and Denmark and international businesses.

“It is a pleasure to announce the support of international efforts to provide and spread education, skills and the appropriate environment for them,” said Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister for Higher Education and Advanced Skills.

“Through the agreement, we seek to find appropriate solutions and invest in human capital, which is a major national priority for us in the UAE."

Officials said nations must act now to support people in readiness for the emerging 'fourth industrial revolution' that will be driven by technology and automation.

A 2019 study by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company revealed 77 per cent of students in the Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector were likely to pursue a career in new technologies.

The fourth revolution of industry is likely to be dominated by new career pathways into developing artificial intelligence, the internet of things in a more connected world, big data and blockchain.

With two-thirds of the Arab world under the age of 30, proper training to suit new jobs is crucial for future economic prosperity, officials said.

"The best way to create a more cohesive and more inclusive society is to provide job opportunities for all,” said WEF executive chairman, Professor Klaus Schwab.

“We are working with our partners to create a global platform that will provide a billion people with the skills they need in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“This is an important and pressing transformation, the least we have to do is move faster to renew and develop skills."

Also at Davos, a five-year co-operation agreement was signed by a UAE delegation and WEF officials.

The partnership will encourage joint projects in the future and support the UAE as a global hub for decision-making and policy development.

From November, the UAE will host annual Global Future Councils meetings for the next five years with the first coinciding with Expo 2020 Dubai.