Closing the Skills Gap

Country Accelerators

The Closing the Skills Gap Country Accelerators are public-private partnership initiatives to drive systems change, initially across four focus areas: Lifelong learning and upskilling; Future readiness and employability; Innovative skills funding models; and Skills anticipation and job market insights. The COVID-19 led to a strategic pivot to add “Proactive redeployment and re-employment” as an additional dimension. A COVID-19 Addendum to the Accelerator Playbook was developed accordingly, identifying key strategies for short term emergency response as well as longer term economic recovery and building back better.

The Accelerators focus on four key areas to close national skills gaps:

1. Lifelong learning and upskilling
2. Proactive redeployment and re-employment
3. Innovative skills funding models
4. Skills anticipation and job market insight

Country Accelerators are governed by a leadership group consisting of public and private co-chairs in each country. In total, 12 Ministers and 11 CEOs from the accelerator countries are engaged as the leadership groups, supported by a local coordinator in each country. Depending on the maturity of the accelerator many more local companies are engaged in the working groups of the accelerators.

The Global Learning Network brings together all accelerator countries and knowledge partners on a quarterly basis to build on the power of peer-to-peer learning, share knowledge, lessons learned and practical implementation challenges and solutions, as well as provide updates on the latest skills and labour market trends. So far, two roundtables took place this year: The first focused on strategies to navigate the impact of COVID-19, where countries shared plans regarding reskilling and redeployment efforts. The second focused on the manner in which the pandemic has fundamentally shifted the skills narrative (i.e. regarding gender and the role of the private sector), as well as introducing accelerators countries to synergies with other workstreams under the Reskilling Revolution umbrella.

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Countries in-depth

Eight countries are currently implementing the Accelerators: Bahrain, Brazil, Georgia, India, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates. 5 countries are in active scoping discussion: Argentina, Greece, Turkey, Luxembourg, and Vietnam. 3 countries are involved as knowledge partners: Singapore, Switzerland, and Denmark.


A collaboration with the National Skills Development Corporation, India’s Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator was launched in October 2018. The leadership group has agreed to focus on five key objectives: (1) commit to providing the workforce with broad-based access to training, reskilling and upskilling opportunities; (2) partner with EdTech platforms on skills accreditation and align micro-credentials with national standards and qualification frameworks; (3) explore opportunities to introduce apprenticeships into “non-traditional” sectors; (4) support the creation of skills training bonds and individual learning accounts at a company and national level; and (5) pilot the set-up of a big data driven labour market information tool for India


Launched in January 2019, Oman’s Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator is setting up three thematic public-private initiatives and a number of sector-level public-private roundtables to improve alignment between skills and jobs, focusing specifically on: (1) strengthening soft skills among children and youth (e.g. adaptability, creativity, communication, teamwork, etc.); (2) enhancing basic digital know-how among children and youth (e.g. basic coding, media literacy, interpreting data, etc.); and (3) improving relevant job-specific skills (e.g. technical and industry- or job-relevant skills). The Supreme Council of Planning is coordinating the initiative.

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Kicked-off in July 2019 in collaboration with the Punjab Skills Development Fund, the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator has engaged more than 30 of the largest employers in Pakistan. Representing the country’s leading industries, these companies are mapping sector-level emerging and declining roles and the skillset associated with them. They will then create and support sectoral, public-private incubators to create an adequate pipeline of talent for Pakistan’s future of work.

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United Arab Emirates

Launched in November 2019, the United Arab Emirates Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator brings together the leading Emirati and international businesses active in the country with the coordination of the Ministry of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills. The Accelerator is built around two main pillars: (1) the creation of national and international platforms to highlight skills gap and formulate new business models and practical tools to steer education and training in line with future changes; (2) collaboration between the government and private sectors, as well as civil society and education and training institutions in the UAE, to establish a comprehensive vision to close the skills gap in the country.


At the World Economic Forum 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos the Forum and the Secretariat of Productivity, Employment and Competitiveness of the Ministry of Economy of Brazil agreed to work together to close skills gap in the country and upskill the current workforce, with a focus on low-skilled and fragile workers. The Accelerator will build on existing and planned initiatives by the Ministry of Economy and engage the private sector to scale and accelerate their impact.


The Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB) signed an agreement with the World Economic Forum at Davos 2020 to take up the role of local coordinator of the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator in Bahrain. The EDB is in the process of defining the Ministers and additional CEO’s who will be spearheading the Accelerator in Bahrain. The Accelerator will focus on closing the skills gap in Bahrain by increasing lifelong learning for workers and effective redeployment strategies.

South Africa

The Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa committed to join the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator in Davos 2020. The Forum will work together with the relevant counterparts to prepare the workforce for the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic will bring to the economy and start the changes necessary to make the current green and technological transitions more inclusive.