During the Cisco Connect conference, Cisco outlined its commitment to support the digitization of Africa’s communities, businesses, and governments through several initiatives for skills and talent development, innovation and job creation.
“We are living in a world that is changing faster than ever imagined. We are inspired by the prospect of an economy with abundant jobs, a place where entrepreneurs can thrive. Our goal is to enable small and medium businesses to accelerate their growth by helping them access our world class technology,” says Country General Manager (GM) for Cisco East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, David Bunei.
Cisco also announced plans to launch a Repair Partner program. The aim is to work with selected distributors who will repair and restore Cisco hardware and make high quality, refurbished technology accessible, especially for small and medium sized organizations. By investing in repair centres in Africa, Cisco intends to contribute to job creation, skills development, fighting counterfeiting and promoting Cisco’s Authorised Channel.
In addition to repair, Cisco intends for the centers to carry out testing, quality engineering, fulfillment, process management and procurement, as well as inventory control, serving customers in Africa.
“Our goal is to create value through ‘glocal’ manufacturing and channel models. By glocal, we mean utilizing global manufacturing practices with local execution,” Bunei added.
Cisco has invested in educating and upskilling students, graduates and unemployed youth through its Networking Academy (NetAcad) for over 20 years. NetAcad provides students hands-on digital skills to prepare them for careers in the digital economy. Since its launch in 1998, close to 700,000 students participated in NetAcad courses throughout the African continent.
Cisco has set a goal to train a total of 1 million additional students by 2025 in Africa.
- During the next three years, Cisco will focus on training students. This will be followed by reskilling initiatives for active workforce and job seekers, based on content from Cisco NetAcad.
- Through NetAcad, Cisco intends to support the creation of Digital Learning Hubs in public libraries, accessible by the local population.
- In addition, Cisco plans to actively engage with employers to identify job opportunities that align to the skills of NetAcad students and alumni.
In November 2018, Cisco opened the first Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre in Pretoria, South Africa. Since then, it has continued to expand the reach of EDGE, opening incubation centres in Dube Trade Port, KZN and the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the coming months, Cisco plans to establish similar centres in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria.
EDGE stands for Experience, Design, GTM (Go to Market) and Earn. The objective is to share business knowledge, help develop small and medium businesses in the digital age, speed up their entry to market and, as a result, create new jobs for the local economy.