GUYANA is positioning itself to be among leading countries in climate change, food security, and energy, including renewable energy, President, Dr Irfaan Ali said on Wednesday at the inauguration of the Guyana Coders Initiative at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC),

Liliendaal. Dr Ali said technological transformation will now join the list.

The initiative is a partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and was initially announced mid-October by President Ali at the 16th Berbice Expo and Trade Fair.

The President said the next eight years will be important for Guyana, and if the country does not adjust itself quickly, it will be behind for decades to come. Dr Ali said economies and the labour market today will be different in 2030 and beyond. This point was echoed in a short video presentation played at the event which noted that 1.1 million jobs globally will be radically transformed with the changes to the labour market which lean toward digital skills.

Dr Ali took the time to thank the visiting delegation from the UAE for the action it has taken to give life to the partnership. The President said the intention is to open the initiative to participation from young people across the Caribbean which would position Guyana as the data hub for the region.

Delivering the keynote address, Abdulla Lootah, Director General of the UAE’s Office of the Prime Minister, recounted the March 2022 cooperation agreement between the two countries which has already blossomed. He said the partnership lands squarely in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 relating to global partnerships.  He said the initiative ensures Guyanese are familiar with the critical language of the future, and added that participants will be certified after three years.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand, speaking at the event, said that despite the infrastructural development seen in the country, President Ali’s vision has remained the training of Guyanese to ensure they are prepared for the country’s development. Minister Manickchand said Guyanese, regardless of race, gender, religion, age or any other difference, will be allowed to access this training.

Up to 150,000 Guyanese will benefit from an extraordinary partnership between the leaderships of Guyana and the United Arab Emirate (UAE) to train this country’s citizens on how to code. This builds on the already strong relations between the two countries in the areas of trade and technology advancement.

The initiative forms part of the government’s vision to advance Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Guyana and ultimately transform the country, with boost from legislation, into a zone for data services, data centres, and data banks. President Ali said on Wednesday that the legislation could be tabled in the National Assembly soon.

Coding is the process of writing computer programmes, and is how humans communicate with computers. With the world becoming more computer based, the ability to understand coding is becoming more important.

The Guyana Coders Initiative joins other human resource development initiatives that the government currently has ongoing, including the Guyana Online Learning Academy (GOAL), which is already ahead in its efforts to distribute 20,000 scholarships to Guyanese across five years. It also joins the President’s vision for Silica City, digitisation of government records, and the overall push to the ICT revolution in Guyana.