So, how might that work in Iraq, and what implications does this have, particularly in terms of my specialist subject – capacity building?
Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF referred to three particular barriers faced by Iraq, including supporting the 161,000 refugees numbers last recorded in July, disruptions to bilateral and transit trade, and heightened security concerns. He strongly believed that not just for Iraq but for the region as a whole a high-quality education can support job creation for nationals, which in turn would turn the disenfranchised into stakeholders.
This all seems perfectly reasonable, but I believe it goes much deeper than that. A sufficiently robust capacity pipeline must align individual need to that of business and industry through by building education and training models that are transparent, scalable and measurable – but above all they must be relevant to local need as well as the global value chain.
This might mean aligning operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles ( as illustrated by the lastest UN Global Compact report published early September). A robust education and training system, underpinned by links to the private sector, must reach the many, not just the few. Furthermore it should not just focus on academic hard skills, but also drive soft skills such as communication, innovation and enterprise.
The capacity pipeline from pre-school education to training and higher education offered by the state should enable young people to make informed decisions around the political, social and economic environment they are living in. This will create an entrepreneurial workforce that is not just working towards stabilising their own ‘micro economy’, but to take decisions that will allow them to align their cultural and personal strengths to the bigger picture, avoiding the situation referenced to by Egyptian Minister Dr Magdy Rady who saw the fact that people took to the streets of his country as a sign of genuine political engagement.
If inward investment is to happen, and individuals and MSMEs are to take risk then education and training must be outward looking. Hooking into a global market place, which is indeed is hungry for Iraqi Oil, requires direct communication of the fact that the export of oil is underpinned by the strength of its people to create long term stability and sustainability.