ICT skills development vital for Lebanon’s economic progress

By Ethan Wang, CEO of Huawei Lebanon.

The current global pandemic underscored the importance of connectivity. Technology powered our communities and supported the growth of the economy. As we look forward to a post-pandemic world, ICT will play a critical role in kickstarting our economies and ensuring continued productivity. Despite its current economic challenges, Lebanon has a tremendous potential for a digital-led future.

According to data compiled by the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL), the ICT sector contributed to around 2.1% of Lebanon’s GDP in 2018, the equivalent of $1.1 billion. The sector’s total impact on GDP, whether direct or indirect, is forecasted to reach $7 billion by 2025.

This positive outlook in the coming years will be fueled by investments in telecommunications infrastructure, digital initiatives by both the public and private sector, and an improved business environment, resulting in greater demand for ICT services. However, this growth will require an accelerated talent development strategy, particularly in the technologies underlying the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The country already has a solid foundation to build upon; according to the World Economic Forum, Lebanon’s quality of math and science education in higher education puts the country at fourth position globally as of 2018.

Developing talent is a collaborative effort that involves the public sector, academia, and technology firms. For instance, partnerships with higher learning institutions have proven to be a very successful model for talent development. By collaborating with private technology entities, students can gain first-hand knowledge about advanced technologies and accumulate ICT expertise and skills, contributing to the progress of Lebanon’s ICT industry. As a leading global ICT solutions provider, Huawei advocates for an open, shared ICT talent ecosystem that benefits all parties.

Through our various training initiatives like ICT Academies, Seeds for the Future, Middle East ICT Competition, and more, we are actively building a talent supply chain covering the entire process of learning, certification, and employment. Deepening cooperation between universities and enterprises helps promote industry development and innovate talent development models based on enterprise requirements.

Recently, Huawei signed an MoU with the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) and Arab Open University to establish the Huawei ICT Academy for its students at the respective institutions. Through this collaboration, Huawei is providing quality courses and support services for university students and teachers. Furthermore, the Huawei’s Seeds for the Future program is yet another successful template for skills enhancement, which has benefitted more than 75 students in Lebanon.

Leveraging open collaboration between the public and private sectors will enable Lebanon to enjoy this new digital value chain’s benefits. The private sector has a lot to offer, and the public sector has much to gain. Together, we can help start a new chapter for the future development of Lebanon.

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