• Cisco today announces a ZAR 140 Million (9,2M USD) investment to support the Digitization of South Africa
  • The investment focuses on three key areas: job creation through Cisco incubation centres; skills and talent development; and National Cyber Security

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – September 5,  2019 – Honourable Minister of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, and General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Cisco, Clayton Naidoo, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining key areas of cooperation for South Africa’s digital future.

The MoU forms part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme and contributes to South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030. Cisco CDA is a global programme aimed at accelerating national digitization agendas to support job creation and innovation and to help drive economic growth and sustainable and equitable communities. Since the launch of the CDA initiative four years ago, Cisco has worked together with a number of countries on projects that have demonstrated the benefits of digital adoption, including the delivery of smart cities and utility grids and the digitization of hospitals, schools and ports.

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said ‘’The ICT Ministry has been mandated by President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead SA’s fourth industrial revolution (4IR) efforts. How we respond to the 4IR must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all players from the private and public sector, academia, government and civil society. It is for this reason that the department led the ‘Coordinate.Collaborate.Execute Industry 4.0’ engagement forum in October 2018 to harmonise all efforts aimed at adequately preparing South Africa for the 4IR. Working with our partners we will build a capable talent pool that is equipped with the requisite skills and opportunities, making sure that the workforce is ready for the revolution.’’

“At Cisco, we see technology at the heart of our digital future, driving inclusive economic growth, creating jobs and igniting innovation. Since opening our first office in Johannesburg 30 years ago, Cisco has been committed to South Africa, working on projects that make the benefits of the Internet and technology available to broad groups of society. With the launch of the South Africa CDA programme, we open a new chapter in our long-standing partnership, creating value for the country, its citizens and businesses,” Naidoo added.

The MoU outlines three specific areas where Cisco can best contribute to South Africa’s digitization objectives. These include skills and talent development, job creation and national cyber security.

Benefits for South Africa:

Skills and Talent Development: As part of CDA, Cisco will support the development of a skilled workforce that is equipped to participate in and benefit from the digital revolution. For more than 20 years, Cisco has invested in educating and upskilling students and graduates, among them unemployed youth, through its Networking Academy. Cisco Networking Academy provides students with hands-on digital skills to prepare them for careers in the digital economy. Altogether, more than 71,000 students participated in Networking Academy courses in South Africa since the programme began, 30% of them female. In the previous academic year, Networking Academy partnered with 138 educational establishments and educated over 16,000 students in South Africa.

Building on the success of Cisco Networking Academy, Cisco intends to strengthen its collaboration with the TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) colleges with the aim of having every TVET college as a Networking Academy partner, capable of delivering Digital and Cyber Security related courses. In addition, Cisco aims to create content and tools that can be deployed to create Digital Learning Hubs in public libraries, accessible by the local population. Cisco will also work with the Government to make the Digital Skills and Cyber Security content available to government employees.

Job Creation: 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 an incubation centre in Dube Trade Port, KZN. The objective of the centres is to help develop small and medium businesses in the digital age, to speed up their entry to market and, as a result, create new jobs for the local economy. The EDGE centres provide small and medium businesses state-of-the-art Cisco technology, along with training and enablement programmes. Through the CDA programme, Cisco plans to expand the reach of the EDGE centres and to establish similar centres in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Western Cape. The centres will specialize in topics that are relevant to the local economy, such as smart ports, Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture and smart cities.

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