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WGS 2018: Industry Leaders Urge Economies to Focus on Coding and Problem-Solving Skills

WGS 2018: Industry Leaders Urge Economies to Focus on Coding and Problem-Solving Skills

These themes were explored in a panel discussion titled ‘The One Million Arab Coders Initiative’ on day two of the sixth World Government Summit (WGS 2018) in Dubai.

Named after the UAE Government’s landmark initiative to empower Arab youth and equip them with the skills required to thrive in the future, the session examined the skills that are taking precedence in our digitized world.

Joel Kaplan, Vice President of Public Policy at Facebook, hailed the UAE Government for its innovation-led policies that view the private sector as a partner in mitigating the negative impact of technology. Optimistic about the One Million Arab Coders Initiative, he added: “Over the next few years we hope to see a growing base of engineers in the region, so that when Facebook looks to make its next investment, or open its next engineering center, that region is an appealing prospect. That’s the promise we see, and it would be in our interest to build a workforce that represents the community we serve.” 

Echoing this sentiment, Sebastian Thrun, Chairman of Udacity, applauded the UAE’s efforts. Referencing the One Million Arab Coders Initiative, he said that no such program exists elsewhere in the world, not because of the lack of need, but the lack of vision.

Magnus Olsson, Co-founder of Careem, said that while the region has tremendous talent, there are also certain limitations that stem from the lack of a sustained presence of large tech companies. He said: “For an engineer to learn the type of skills needed to build something large-scale, practical experience is necessary. It is hard to find people who have built something at the scale we require.”

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organizations.

Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features six distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialized global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.