Exclusive: Realizing a digital Oman requires ICT-skilled youth, says Huawei CEO

By Chen Bing
October 13, 2020 2:54 pm

Oman’s vision for a digitalized future is one that will enable the country to thrive through the immense potential of connectivity. A digital future will redefine societies, enabling growth and development, enhancing education and industry, and building new capacity for accelerating the economy. Current initiatives, such as the Digital Oman Strategy, are certainly establishing a strong base for the information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem to thrive upon. However, what we now need is to turn our focus onto Oman’s youth, to prepare them to take over and drive their country’s digital future in line with the latest technologies – such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing, all of which will support the country’s vision for the future, while bringing proven value to socio-economic development.

With an average age of just 30.6, Oman’s population is dominated by young people, which is a definite advantage when it comes to not only propelling digital transformation, but to training a new generation of ICT leaders. 

Developing new skillsets for young people is something that is considered a priority in Oman. It contributes to a stronger ICT ecosystem, which will in turn enable a robust, digitally-driven economy – therefore investing in developing young ICT talents is a win-win situation that can only bring more benefits in the future, for everyone in the Sultanate. 

The ICT sector is playing an increasingly important role in national digital transformation in Oman. A recent study shows that a 16-20% increment of ICT capital services will lead to a 1% increment in Oman’s GDP, while also providing more jobs and opportunities, and spurring entrepreneurship and innovation alike. Beyond this, ICT will enable the Government of Oman to increase efficiency of service delivery, making citizens more satisfied, as well as providing easier and more convenient ways of communications and life within the country. 

As COVID-19 has demonstrated, the ICT sector is an essential component of economic continuity. Throughout the pandemic, services provided by the ICT sector have enabled businesses and schools to continue, allowed e-commerce to thrive, and provided essential e-healthcare services including remote diagnosis and testing.

Numerous initiatives exist within Oman that are geared towards introducing young people to the ICT sector, educating them and enhancing their skills. These talent training programs include ICT academies and annual ICT competitions, amongst others.

Today there are several ICT academies across the country, launched in cooperation with renowned and prestigious universities. These academies operate in partnership with local educators and institutions, providing students with the opportunity to gain certification in some of the most relevant areas of ICT today. Courses at such institutions cover a wide range of technical fields, including routing and switching, storage, cloud, 5G, cloud computing, big data, IoT, and artificial intelligence. Thousands of talented individuals will be given the chance to be trained and certified through these academies, to provide them with the means to launch a career in the flourishing ICT industry. Even with the impact of COVID-19 and educational institutions closed as a result of the pandemic, students can access online training and certifications programs to continue learning. 

In addition to that, annual ICT competitions have seen nearly 3,000 talented college students in the Sultanate participate in the past few years. These competitions aim to increase ICT knowledge, stimulate youths’ interest in learning and innovation capabilities, and improve their self-learning and problem-solving abilities. 

With such immense potential amongst a young population, Oman is a goldmine of ICT talent. Harnessing this potential by making training and skills development opportunities accessible will ensure that the country has the best possible chance to not only realise its digitization ambitions, but to carry them forward for a brighter connected future for all. 

Building ICT capacity, in terms of investment in infrastructure as well as in talent development, is as important as relying upon partners for knowledge transfer opportunities. Together, these three elements will build a more robust ICT ecosystem, upon which Oman’s digital economy will develop and thrive, leading the country into a new era of connectivity.

About the author: Chen Bing is the CEO of Huawei Tech. Investment (Oman).

Disclaimer : The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of TAS and TAS does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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