Cisco to train 1M African youth to foster innovation & digital entrepreneurship

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Cisco has announced it’s set 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 announced plans to launch a Repair Partner program to work with selected distributors to repair and restore Cisco hardware hence contribute to job creation, skills development, fighting counterfeiting and growing its sales.

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.

For more than 20 years, Cisco has invested in educating and upskilling students through its Networking Academy (NetAcad). 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 an ambitious 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.

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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 South Africa, in April 2019, Cisco launched a talent bridge platform aimed at small and medium businesses and professionals. Talent Bridge helps match supply, the skilled talent pool coming from NetAcad, with demand, that is entry-level jobs available in Cisco’s partner ecosystem. 

In November 2018, Cisco opened the first Cisco EDGE Incubation Centre in Pretoria, South Africa. The firm later launched incubation centres in Dube Trade Port, KZN and the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Cisco is set to launch more EDGE Incubation Centres in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria as well as additional centres in South Africa, including the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

EDGE stands for Experience, Design, GTM (Go to Market) and Earn will 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.

EDGE Centres provide small and medium businesses with state-of-the-art Cisco communication and collaboration technology, alongside training and enablement programs such as smart ports, IoT in agriculture and smart cities among others. The centers will also work as centers to connect SMBs to global Cisco experts.