Letters & Opinion

An urgent need for computer coding in St. Lucia

The United Nations and the World Economic Forum are improving their efforts to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and access to education and healthcare.  Computer coding is a valuable tool for achieving these objectives because of its innovative solutions in renewable energy, finance, healthcare, and education.  In addition, the World Economic Forum has identified coding as a critical skill for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by rapid technological change and digitalization.  In its 2020 Future Job Report, the World Economic Forum predicts that coding and programming will be among the top skills in demand in the coming years, as they are essential for developing and maintaining digital infrastructure and applications.

The United Nations and the World Economic Forum have emphasized making technology and coding benefits available to all, including marginalized communities, and developing countries.  It includes promoting digital inclusion, making training and resources available, and ensuring that coding and other technology-related jobs are available to everyone, regardless of background or location.

How can this training be deployed?

Training with a narrow focus on skills development in critical areas, so the score should be on: Software and Mobile App development, Data Scientist and analysts and Cybersecurity.  Software development is the process of designing, building, and maintaining software applications.  Individuals who have completed computer coding training can work as software developers in various industries such as healthcare, finance, and retail.  Mobile App Development: App Developers create, build, and maintain mobile applications for smartphones and tablets.  Thanks to the growing demand for mobile apps, individuals with training in mobile app development can pursue careers as mobile app developers in various industries.  Data Scientists and Analysts: Data scientists and analysts analyze and interpret large datasets using coding languages such as Python and R. They can work in various fields such as healthcare, finance, and marketing.  Cybersecurity professionals build and maintain secure computer systems using coding languages such as Python and C++.  With the growing threat of cyberattacks, individuals with cybersecurity training can work as cybersecurity professionals in various industries.

What does this mean to the Youth Economy and Digital Economy?

Small island nations like ours tend to consume more software services and products than create them, making the government pay millions in licensing fees ($7,00,000.00).  Unfortunately, this trend continues throughout the Caribbean region.  Software development requires a robust technology infrastructure, technical expertise, and resource access.

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However, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in technology and entrepreneurship in the Caribbean region due to the push by the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.  With the appropriate timing being now, the correct coding training and funding support from the government, Saint Lucia can develop a robust technology ecosystem with coding being the driving force, putting St. Lucian youth in a unique position to benefit from a trillion plus dollars industry ready to be exploited. Interestingly, there are two platforms, according to Bill Gates, that can make this sustainable inclusion happen faster and cheaper if developing states start developing and deploying their platforms and programmes.  Two game-changing platforms are MOJALOOP and MOSIP.

MOJALOOP can help promote financial inclusion by giving people access to affordable and secure digital financial services.  In addition, training young St. Lucians in MOJALOOP can help them develop skills to create and maintain digital financial systems that meet the needs of people in St. Lucia, the Caribbean, and the world.

Provide affordable digital financial services, which promote economic development by enabling people to participate in the formal economy.  It also creates a pool of local talent that can support developing and implementing the digital financial system that will contribute to economic growth.

Its use will promote technological advancement in St. Lucia.  MOJALOOP platform is built on modern technologies such as cloud computing, mobile platforms, and APIs, essential for creating digital financial systems.  By learning MOJALOOP, young people can develop skills in these technologies and become part of a global community of developers working to create innovative digital financial solutions.  Create job opportunities in the digital financial sector.  As more people access digital financial services, there will be a growing demand for skilled professionals to develop and maintain these systems.

MOSIP (Modular Open-Source Identity Platform) is a scalable digital identity solution.  It promotes secure and efficient identity management by providing a digital platform for capturing, storing, and verifying identity information.  Training in MOSIP can help develop local expertise in identity management and contribute to the development of secure and reliable identity systems in St. Lucia.  Digital identity solutions improve the delivery of social services by enabling targeted and efficient service delivery.  Trained St Lucians can develop a local workforce that can support developing and implementing digital identity solutions that can contribute to the efficient delivery of social services.

Equally, combining training in MOSIP and MOJALOOP will provide young St. Lucians with a diverse set of highly in-demand skills that can be applied in various sectors of the digital economy, promote cross-functional collaboration, contribute to economic development, and enable them to be part of a global community of developers working to create innovative digital solutions.  However, it is essential to ensure that access to training and resources for coding and other digital skills is equitable and inclusive so that all young people have the opportunity to develop these skills and participate in the digital economy.

This is particularly important for marginalized communities and youths.  Furthermore, a designed coding training emphasizing sustainable development and digital inclusion means that platforms, software, or programmes for companies and organisations will be designed based on carefully considering the social and environmental impacts of their digital products and services.  This includes ensuring that digital infrastructure and applications are accessible, reducing carbon footprints, and promoting ethical and responsible use of technology.

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