UNTB and ICPSD formalize partnership to bridge the digital divide in the LDCs
June 19, 2023
Istanbul, Türkiye – UNDP Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development (ICPSD) and UN Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries (UNTB) signed on Friday a letter of intent with regard to the 'Frontier Tech Leaders' Programme. With that, the partners affirmed their commitment to work together for supporting the LDCs, gave a start to the Programme's implementation and announced the call for the first cohort of applicants.
UNDP ICPSD’s SDG AI Lab and the UNTB will implement the ‘Frontier Tech Leaders’ programme for the LDCs to address the digital divide and contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The ‘Frontier Tech Leaders’ Programme aims to train the next generation of tech specialists in the LDCs to address the challenges facing their communities by developing digital solutions. In this sense, it will inspire youth and provide them with the means for action. One other focus of the programme is to motivate young women to pursue education and professional paths in the tech sector. As a result, it actively contributes to SDG 5 the promotion of gender equality.
The Programme was officially launched at the LDC5 Conference in March 2023, as a way to empower young people in LDCs and strengthen local tech and entrepreneurial capacities. When commenting on the agreement, Mr. Erhan Sırt, Head of Multilateral Development Cooperation Department of the Presidency of Strategy and Budget of Türkiye, highlighted the significant progress ICPSD and UNTB have made since March.
"Türkiye has long been welcoming students from LDCs, including through the TUBITAK Graduate Scholarship Programme for LDCs and through the allocation of over 1000 university scholarships for talented youth from the LDCs. I hope that UNTB and ICPSD will further strengthen the linkage between Türkiye and the LDCs in digital technologies."
About Türkiye’s inclusive international development policy also talked Ms. Aslı Güven, Head of Department, Directorate General for Multilateral Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Türkiye. She emphasized that Türkiye acknowledges the significance of ensuring equitable access and inclusive participation in digital technologies and associated opportunities.
"We have a firm commitment to ensuring that the benefits and opportunities of the digital era are accessible to all individuals and communities. This commitment aims to overcome socio-economic barriers and bridge the divide across different geographical locations," Güven stated. She also highlighted that they understand the transformative power of frontier technologies and believe in equipping the youth of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with the skills to harness this power. “This programme will help the LDC youth to create positive change for themselves and their nations," she concluded.
The Director of UNDP ICPSD Mr. Sahba Sobhani commented on the Frontier Tech Leaders programme's aim to empower the next generation of leaders in frontier technologies in the LDCs. "The programme builds on the experience of ICPSD in digital technologies and youth upskilling through initiatives such as the SDG AI Lab fellowship. By nurturing a new generation of tech leaders, we can help LDCs to innovate, create jobs, and improve social and economic outcomes. The program will also provide entrepreneurial training and mentorship to equip participants with the necessary skills to thrive in a dynamic tech sector," Mr. Sobhani said.
“UN Technology Bank’s Mandate is supporting Science, Technology and Innovation development in LDCs. To this end, we are very excited about the Frontier Tech Leaders Programme which targets to support youth STI development. We are also delighted to partner with ICPSD in this endeavor,” said the Acting Managing Director of UNTB Dr. Taffere Tesfachew.
The signatory ceremony solidified the partnership between ICPSD, UNTB, and the Government of Türkiye. It reaffirms their joint commitment to advancing digital transformation in the LDCs.
About UN Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries
The UN Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries became operational in 2018 and serves the 46 least developed countries (LDCs) and former least developed countries for up to five years after their graduation from the category. Headquartered in Gebze, Turkey, the UN Technology Bank actively engages with national, regional, and international partners to deliver its programme and projects which strengthen science, technology, and innovation capacity in least developed countries. The UN Technology Bank supports national and regional technological efforts, reinforces partnerships across sectors and helps nations identify and use appropriate technologies to transform their economies and improve livelihoods.
About UNDP ICPSD's SDG AI Lab
The SDG AI Lab is a joint initiative of the UNDP Bureau of Policy and Programme Support, hosted under UNDP IICPSD. The Lab has a mission to harness the potential of frontier technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for sustainable development. SDG AI Lab provides research, development, and advisory services in the areas of frontier technologies and sustainable development. The Lab supports UNDP’s internal capacity-strengthening efforts for the increasing demand for digital solutions. To bridge the talent gap in the use of frontier technologies in development contexts, the Lab mobilizes a community of volunteer data scientists, connecting UNDP teams and highly skilled data scientists to address development challenges with digital solutions.
Gergana Georgieva, UNDP ICPSD Communication Consultant. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org