Govt developing diaspora database to match skills with labour market

Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Persaud, said the ministry is developing a diaspora database that will match the skills of Guyanese abroad to the needs of the job market locally.

Persaud was speaking at the four-day International Energy Conference and Expo at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown on Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Persaud

He said the project would be consistent with the Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN) programme being utilised by other countries around the world.

According to the IOM’s Labour Migration Study, it is estimated that Guyana will need approximately 160,000 workers to supplement its labour supply in the long- run, with at least a minimum of 100,000 workers to realise its full growth potential.

It is for this reason, Persaud said, the Government of Guyana is working toward ensuring that these gaps are filled through the development and execution of the pilot project.

Additionally, in the long – term, he announced that the administration is working towards the development of a structured migration policy which will be informed by evidence-based analysis.

The projects forms part of several initiatives being worked on by the government to connect the global diaspora and streamline their involvement in investment and development opportunities and utilise their skills and expertise for the betterment of Guyana.

“The global Guyanese diaspora has always maintained a strong connection with their homeland. Many of them feel a strong sense of belonging and have a great desire to contribute to the development and transformation of our country,” he said.

Persaud said that while substantial data about the Guyanese diaspora is not readily available, Guyanese abroad, when coupled with their offspring who may or may not be citizens of Guyana, could equally or be even greater than the number of Guyanese living in Guyana; therefore, the potential in the Guyanese diaspora is vast.

“Our overseas-based Guyanese have acquired skills and have made key and invaluable connections over the years in their countries of residence which can be utilised to create beneficial partnerships and opportunities for Guyana. Many of these reside in nations which have been significant producers of oil and gas and as a result, possess a vast knowledge in this nascent sector for Guyana,” he pointed out.

With this in mind, the government has been intensifying efforts and embarking on aggressive strategies and policies to revitalise, deepen and sustain diaspora engagement in order to leverage the expertise, talents and investment potential that reside within that population.

To date, several initiatives have been undertaken, geared at enhancing engagements with the diaspora. Last year, the first-ever virtual diaspora conference was held, attracting hundreds of Guyanese from over 70 countries.

Persaud said several measures have since been put in place to promote a business-friendly environment and improve the ease of doing business, some of which include the improvement of platforms for persons to access information readily.

As a result, the government received many expressions of interest from the diaspora for projects in agriculture, technology, health, solid waste management, ship building, renewable energy, community development, sports, tourism, education, security, oil and gas, and financial and social services. In fact, the diaspora youth launched a telecommunication center in Linden, Region Ten last year, bringing jobs and opportunities to other young people in that region.