UN invests in Myanmar’s IT engineers and young entrepreneurs

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A new presidential initiative to create jobs for young people and investment opportunities in Myanmar’s IT sector was today announced by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), during the Second Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum in Nay Pyi Taw.

The first phase of the Information Technology Capacity Development Programme, a collaboration between ESCAP, Infosys, the Government of India, and the Government of Myanmar, will see 25 outstanding IT engineers and entrepreneurs from Myanmar undergoing 12 weeks of intensive training in India in core competencies of software development, which in turn will prepare them to work in any major e-government initiative or global IT company operating in Myanmar.

“In his historic 2012 address to the Union Assembly, the United Nations Secretary-General pointed to the need for job creation, poverty alleviation, and greater development assistance to Myanmar,” explained Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, in her address to the forum.

“ESCAP has worked closely with the Myanmar Government to strengthen the capacity of small and medium enterprises to help meet these challenges, especially through the empowerment of women and youth. I am very pleased, therefore, to announce this joint US$1 million programme for Myanmar’s young entrepreneurs, which will help the country and its people leapfrog into the global knowledge economy, building cutting-edge skills and competitiveness in these areas.”

“I am doubly happy to say that 23 of the 25 participants of Phase 1, selected entirely on merit, are young women, and I wish them and this initiative every success,” said Dr. Heyzer, who also met with President U Thein Sein in Myanmar today to discuss the initiative and further support by ESCAP for Myanmar’s reform process.

ESCAP and its partners are developing specialized training modules, which are in high demand in the global IT industry, for more than 100 young engineers and entrepreneurs who will be up-skilled at the Infosys training centre. Phase I of the initiative will be launched next week in Mysore, India.

Building the skills and competitiveness in these areas will go a long way not only for employment creation in the high-end IT sector and entrepreneurship development, but also for building ‘the critical mass’ to attract investments from the Global IT companies, including Infosys.

“This presidential initiative is an important step towards further integrating Myanmar into the global knowledge economy,” said Dr. Heyzer. “Initiatives such as these will assist Myanmar to more fully integrate with the ASEAN Economic Community and to move towards graduation from the least developed category by 2020.”