WEF and Bahrain's EDB to launch ‘closing the skills gap’ accelerator

Published: 28 January 2020 - 8:45 a.m.

Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) – the kingdom’s investment promotion agency – has partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to launch the ‘closing the skills gap’ accelerator, which is aimed at increasing employability and preparedness for the current and future workforce.

The EDB initiative will bring together the kingdom’s businesses, government, civil society, education institutes, and training providers under one roof to generate local skills gap insight, develop an action plan, and drive its execution.

Bahrain is expected to witness a workforce growth of 8,000 workers annually, with most of the entrants primarily in the private sector.

Findings from a 2019 employer survey across eight main sectors – Healthcare, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Logistics, Oil & Gas, Renewables, ICT, and Startups – indicate a major gap in digital skills in the labour market.

Commenting on the need to address the skills gap in the industry, the chief executive of Bahrain’s EDB, Khalid Humaidan, said: “Digital transformation is happening at an unprecedented pace across the globe – and nowhere more so than in the Middle East, where ambitious reforms and diversification efforts have placed a renewed focus on the region. But as disruptive technologies change the way we work, live and interact, skills gaps are emerging which must be filled to prepare for the future.”

Humaidan added: “Bahrain benefits from a young and growing population, and by equipping the next generation with the right skills we can build truly sustainable development.”

The accelerator, which was announced at the 50th edition of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is one of many launched in partnership with WEF’s “Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society”.

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