The social media giant Facebook has announced that it is partnering with the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI) to teach one million Arab youth how to code, in a program that has the potential to build stronger communities in the Middle East region.
This was disclosed by Facebook’s vice president of public policy, Joel Kaplan in an exclusive interview with Arab Business after the World Government Summit which took place just recently. Kaplan stated that the social media giant is collaborating on the initiative “right from the very beginning, all the way to when they start putting skills to use and start businesses.”
Kaplan added that at first, they have to find a million Arab coders, so they will be working on sourcing, marketing, and then helping to provide expertise and guidance. He also said that when some of the students move from the training to actually launching their own businesses, they are going to connect them with their accelerator programs and provide access to the resources they need to get their business ideas off the ground.
The decision made by Facebook to partner on the program is the outcome of a change in the company’s undertaking from giving users the power to share content to giving them a platform to build communities.
Kaplan said that technology is obviously a huge part of that plan to build communities and one of the ways they can contribute to that is by assisting governments with initiatives to train people to contribute to the economy of the future.
He added that Facebook has 170 million users that log on to the platform every day from the Middle East, noting that the region is very important to them.
Kaplan told Arab Business that a formal end date to the program hasn’t been announced yet because the program is still in its early conceptualization stages. He is enthusiastic about the program he refers to as “one of the big partnership this year.”
Facebook joins partners such as Udacity, Bayt.com and Careem who are working with the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI), the Hussain Sajwani Foundation and the Dubai Future Foundation towards the initiative known as the 10^6 program, to train a million youth in the Arab World on how to code over a series of online courses and certifications.
The program that was announced last year, also aims to connect those graduating from the program with some of the biggest companies in the region and the world at large, so as to foster economic growth in the Middle East.