– The One Guyana Digital Initiative launched

His Excellency President Dr Irfaan Ali said that his government will spend more than $4B to equip 2000 Guyanese with a comprehensive online post-secondary developer full-stack training program through a collaboration with the Canadian government.

The Head of State made the announcement during the launch of the programme at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on February 25. 

He explained that the programme, The One Guyana Digital Initiative, will be administered through the Toronto Metropolitan University, one of Canada’s top institutions. 

When completed, graduates will be qualified to perform the duties of a full-stack developer, which include PHP programming, JavaScript programming, mobile application development, python programming, website security and website front-end programming, among others.

“That is the investment we are making in you, that is the investment this partnership is making you, and we are making this investment in you because we want you to live a higher quality life.”

According to the President, of the 2000 applicants, sixty per cent are women, and twenty per cent are indigenous youths. 

“This is living empowerment; this is practisingempowerment. This is what we call structural and institutional mechanisms to facilitate empowerment, facilitate the growth and development of all genders, but much more important, 20% of those who are registered as these students are Indigenous Guyanese.”

The President underscored that this investment comes at a critical time in the country’s move towards digitisation. He explained that his Government is moving towards a system of governance that will remove a lot of bureaucracy and human biases to ensure that government systems areefficient, reliable, highly functional and integrated. 

Upon completion, students can expect to secure immediate employment with a yearly starting salary of approximately US$25,000.

“We are talking here about building a system through which we can improve and increase disposable income at a household level. Once we are able to improve wealth at a household level, we will improve wealth at the community level. Once we improve wealth at a community level, we will improve wealth at a national level…and at the regional level.”

To ensure that CARICOM benefits from the prosperity of Guyana, President Ali also announced that the region hasbeen able to negotiate training for every child in the region. This will be done through an expanded version of Guyana’s pilot project with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to train more than 150,000 young Guyanese in coding. 

Canada’s Minister of International Development, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen; Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance and Public Service, the Honourable Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, the Honourable Sonia Parag and other government officials and members of the diplomatic community were also at the event.