Cisco has 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. The company gave the outline at the Cisco Connect conference recently.
“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 Clayton Naidoo, General Manager for Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa.
Cisco 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 to counterfeit and promoting Cisco’s Authorised Channel.
In addition to repair, Cisco intends for the centres to carry out testing, quality engineering, fulfilment, 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,” Clayton Naidoo added.
In Cisco’s vision, technology enables inclusion and opportunities for people. For more than 20 years, Cisco has invested in educating and upskilling students, graduates and unemployed youth through its Networking Academy (NetAcad). NetAcad provides students with 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.
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
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. 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, the company plans to establish similar centres in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria. There are plans for additional centres also in South Africa, including the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
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.
EDGE Centres function as incubators: they provide small and medium businesses with state-of-the-art Cisco communication and collaboration technology, alongside training and enablement programs. They specialize in topics that are relevant to the local economy, such as smart ports, IoT in agriculture and smart cities. In addition, small and medium businesses are able to connect with global Cisco experts, who can support them with developing business ideas and concepts.