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Brunei women to train under US movers and shakers

Azlan Othman

Women from Brunei Darussalam are among those in the Asia-Pacific region to be provided digital training and education opportunities by 14 United States (US) companies including Amazon, Apple and Google, as part of an initiative by the US President Biden administration.

The US Department of Commerce and the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) launched last Thursday the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Upskilling Initiative, a public-private endeavour to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth by providing primarily women and girls in IPEF emerging economies and middle-income partners access to training and education in digital skills.

Initial countries taking part in the initiative include Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The initiative reflects the deep and abiding support of both the US government and its private sector to the long-term economic development of the IPEF partners.

In doing so, it bolsters US private sector engagement in one of the most economically dynamic regions of the world in ways that will benefit workers and companies in both the US and the IPEF partner countries.

Fourteen US companies – Amazon and Amazon Web Services, American Tower, Apple, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Edelman Global Advisory (EGA), Google, HP, IBM, MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal, Salesforce, and Visa – will each provide 500,000 or more upskilling opportunities that use digital tools for primarily women and girls in IPEF emerging economies and middle-income partners by 2032.

Opportunities provided may include training in fields such as data science, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics; developing and providing small business owners with a comprehensive digital toolkit that includes website planning and development, search engine optimisation and marketing, budgeting, and social media.

Others include supporting digital literacy and entrepreneurship training for rural girls and women via solar-paneled mobile bus training centres; training authors and illustrators in digital content creation designed to empower girls; and providing content through low bandwidth reading apps to enhance literacy.

The IPEF Upskilling Initiative, which will provide seven million training opportunities over the next decade, was unveiled by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai as they hosted a two-day meeting of the Asian nations in Los Angeles.

“We are committed to offering tangible and concrete benefits to the partner countries participating in IPEF, and these private sector commitments are a tremendous opportunity for us to bring millions of women and girls into the middle class,” said US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

“The Upskilling Initiative not only demonstrates the US commitment to creating a more vibrant and competitive Indo-Pacific region, but also our intention of sending a strong signal to IPEF partners that we, along with some of America’s leading private sector companies, want to build lasting relationships and provide concrete benefits to participants in the framework.”

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