How do digital skills contribute to an inclusive future?

Experts from various sectors and backgrounds gathered at the annual LKDF Forum to address the importance of digital skills in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and their role in social inclusion. Under the theme, Digital Skills for an Inclusive Future, the LKDF Forum 2021 provided a platform to generate action-oriented debates for viable solutions to reduce the job-skill mismatch, bridge the digital skills gap, and promote dialogue for future partnerships.

“As we gather at this year’s LKDF Forum, I call for all of us to work together stronger to build a demand-responsive skilled workforce, reduce the global job-skills mismatch, and more imperatively, bridge the digital divide,” said LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) his opening remarks. “We must support each other in our global drive towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development … and the development of demand-oriented digital skills in the inclusive, gender-responsive and sustainable industry, ultimately contributing to a generation of equality.”

Also present at the official opening was Carin Jämtin, Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), who said, “Life-long learning and skills development are key building blocks to productive development or productive employment. It is an important means for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.”

Nine high-level dignitaries took the floor to share their expertise in digital skills training and its role in closing gaps and promoting inclusivity during the following opening ceremony. The Forum carried on with a theme talk by UNIDO’s Cecilia Ugaz Estrada, HP’s David Hollands and UpSkill Digital’s Gori Yahaya, who discussed challenges women and marginalized groups face when accessing digital skills and the practices aiming to address digital inclusion.

Six sessions led by experts from businesses, inter-governmental organizations and academia covered topics ranging from skill needs anticipation, inclusive business innovation, digitalization in inclusive education, workforce with diverse needs, to re- and up- skilling investments, and the motivation for life-long learning.

At the closing ceremony, Andrea De Remes, co-founder of Erandi Aprende, and Anurag Saha Roy, co-founder of Wikilimo, reiterated the importance of making digital skills learning available and accessible, and brought forward the question of how the international community should come into assistance. Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Managing Director of UNIDO’s Directorate of Digitalisation, Technology and Agri-Business, addressed the interventions made by the two young leaders and called for the international community’s action to pursue an inclusive future for all and contribute to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Youth are the future and they should be the ones saying what is needed. We need to […] involve young people in the decision making in order to develop the training and the upskilling that they need. A strong involvement of all stakeholders is key if we want to make education and skills accessible to all.”

For more information about the LKDF Forum 2021, please contact:


Official recording of the LKDF Forum 2021 will be available in due course in the LKDF YouTube channel.

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