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‘One Million Arab Coders’ initiative launched in Dubai to equip young Arabs with skills required for digital economy

Photo credit: Dubai Government media office

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched the ‘One Million Arab Coders’ initiative, as part of the work being done by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) foundation.

The initiative seeks to equip young Arabs with the tools to build their future, starting with fluency in coding and programming. It will also provide Arabs with employment opportunities and empower them with the skills needed to contribute to the development of the digital economy.

The initiative, managed by the Dubai Future Foundation, aims to empower one million young Arabs in the Middle East by training them, enriching their knowledge, improving their skills, providing them with jobs in the modern technology sector, and increasing their expertise in advanced science. This initiative is the first step towards mastering coding, which will be crucial to meeting the requirements of the future digital economy.

In addition to providing training opportunities for free to young people in the region, the One Million Arab Coders initiative will reward top students and tutors with incentives valued at over $1 million.

The initiative will consist of three stages implemented over two years. The first stage includes registering to join one of two categories, Arab students or tutors, from across the word. This stage can be completed via registration online at arabcoders.ae.

Stage two requires applicants to complete several three-month virtual coding programmes. The top 1,000 students will then be selected, will be awarded certificates, and will be enrolled in the Coder Challenge.

Stage three will involve selection of the top 1,000 coders, who will compete in the Coder Challenge for the top spot. Finally, the top ten students will be announced with first-place winner receiving the grand prize of $1,000,000, and the remaining nine awarded $50,000 each. The top four tutors as voted for by the students, will win $200,000 each.

The platform provides a specialised and integrated curriculum in computer science and programming, consisting of three months of training courses in cooperation with the world’s leading educational institutions and international companies.

The initiative targets young Arabs. According to the press release, studies show that 50 percent of the Arab population is under 25 years old, and that 39 percent aspire to establish their own businesses over the next five years. Meanwhile, unemployment rates among capable and ambitious young Arabs is up to 28 percent, which is one of the highest in the world. This initiative will support young Arabs, and give them the knowledge that empowers them to thrive in the IT sector. It is projected that by 2020, there will be 80 million jobs available in various IT sectors, this initiative seeks to carve out a space for Arabs to become part of that. The initiative will also enable young Arab innovators to play a key role in Smart Government, E-Commerce and IT. The E-Commerce sector has become a global $15 billion industry, while the IT sector has reached $3 billion in the Arab world alone, and is growing at an annual rate of 12 percent.

Speaking on the occasion, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, said, "Coding is the language of the modern era. Our goal is to teach it to one million young Arabs, in order to prepare them now for the requirements needed to excel in the future." His Highness added, "This project is part of MBRGI’s mission to spread hope in the region, create employment opportunities and give our youth the skills needed for them to successfully lead our region into the future. From the world’s leading companies to the global economy itself, programming is the future, and we will support one million young Arabs so they can be an active part of this economic opportunity." Sheikh Mohammed concluded, "We will not stop launching projects and initiatives to support our Arab communities because the stability of our region relies on it. MBRGI has launched over 1,400 projects and 33 institutions dedicated solely to spreading hope and building the future of the Arab world."

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