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New skills required by digital economy focus of ITU Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium

Digital skills key to emerging employment and business opportunities




Geneva, 21 June 2018

​​​​​​The 2018 ITU Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium (CBS-2018) took place 18-20 June 2018 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with a special focus on "Developing Skills for the Digital Economy and Society."

Participants explored how emerging trends in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have changed human resource skills requirements for the digital economy and society, and the impacts of this on capacity building initiatives. They acknowledged that ICTs need to be integrated into national policies and in the implementation of development projects and activities and emphasised the importance of capacity building and skills development as an integral component of the digital agenda.

"Our increasingly digital world offers exciting new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities worldwide," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. "CBS-2018 provided a unique platform from which global decision-makers could explore the evolving human resource skills and knowledge necessary to harness the full potential of these opportunities – so that everyone, everywhere can benefit from these."

The Dominican Republic highlighted their own ambitious República Digital strategy designed to prepare Dominicans, notably younger generations, for a "competitive" digital world. The importance across Latin America for people with the skills to develop online content in the languages and according to the identity, characteristics and needs of the region was also recognized.


“Living in a connected world has great advantages,” said H.E. Dr Margarita Cedeño de Fernandez, Vice-President of the Dominican Republic in opening the Symposium. “Knowledge is increasingly accessible to more and more people and this is a momentous change for humanity. To promote the digital economy, the Dominican Republic has embarked on the most ambitious strategy we have ever experienced. República Digital promises, and will continue to do so, to prepare Dominicans, especially the youngest, by providing them with the necessary skills to face the competitive world in which we live."

"It is our collective responsibility to transform the workers of today into the work force of tomorrow through institutional and human capacity building," said Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU's Telecommunication Development Bure au. "In doing so, we will ensure that no one is left behind by technological advances and we will put the human being at the centre of the technological evolution. We will make technology work for people, by putting a human face to ICTs," he concluded. 

The symposium is the main global event for capacity development in the field of ICTs. CBS-2018 was organized by ITU and hosted by the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (INDOTEL). It was chaired by Fabricio Gómez Mazara, Member of the Board of Directors of INDOTEL. 

“It was a great honour to host CBS-2018, the main global event for capacity building in the field of digital technologies,” said Luis Henry Molina, President of INDOTEL. “We have an urgent need to prepare our students, our institutions and our citizens to succeed in the digital world. In Latin America, for example, we need people with the skills to develop online content in our language, according to the identity, characteristics and needs of our territories.”​

CBS-2018 brought together ministers, regulatory authority heads, United Nations experts, company CEOs, representatives from universities and research institutions, and ICT capacity building specialists. 

The symposium included discussions and debates on: 

  • Skills requirements for the digital transformation;
  • Policy implications for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in a digital world;
  • The role of academic institutions;
  • Challenges and opportunities faced by least developed countries, LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs and implications for capacity development;
  • Entrepreneurship and innovations in the digital era.

The second issue of the Capacity Building in a Changing ICT Environment publication was presented at CBS-2018. It features contributions from international experts on the subject of skills development in a digital era. Its articles contribute to the ongoing discussions on how emerging technologies are transforming job markets, determining new skills sets requirements and driving the digital economy.

The outcomes of the symposium, to be featured in the forthcoming CBS-2018 Chairman's Report, will provide strategic guidance on capacity building and skills development in the digital era, and on strengthening collaboration among the global ICT capacity building community.

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