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Cisco launches new Country Accelerator

The collaboration has previously provided IT and digital skills training to nearly 260,000 students in South Africa.

Cisco Systems has launched a new phase of the Cisco Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program in South Africa, in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) and Cisco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The Memorandum was signed between DCDT director-general Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani and Cisco SA GM Smangele Nkosi. The signing ceremony was overseen by the DCDT Minister Mondli Gungubele and Cisco chair and CEO Chuck Robbins.

The MoU outlines the continuation of the collaboration between Cisco and DCDT, initially launched as a three-year program in 2019. The next phase will focus on economic development, digital skills and talent development, sustainable critical national infrastructure, cybersecurity and digitisation of government services. As part of the CDA Program, Cisco will continue to support South Africa’s long-term digital skills movement, contributing to the country’s digitisation agenda. Additionally, Cisco will play a vital role in facilitating digital upskilling and training, promoting job creation, and driving positive economic growth.

Minister Gungubele said, “With digitisation as the engine of economic growth, we are proud that Cisco’s collaboration with DCDT will contribute towards the growth of South Africa’s economy. Together, we will accelerate digital skills transformation, empowering South Africa’s youth and SMMEs, while enabling an inclusive future for all.”

Jordan-Dyani said: “Together with Cisco, we’ve made substantial strides in tackling challenges related to skills development, job creation and digital education. The positive results of our collaboration have inspired us to embark on the next phase. As a result, we have agreed to further expand our collaboration and venture into new domains, with plans to harness Cisco’s expertise among others in cybersecurity. Reflecting on the achievements of our initial Country Digital Acceleration collaboration with Cisco, I am confident that we will continue to achieve our shared goals.”

Chuck Robbins, chair and CEO of Cisco, said: “This new phase of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration initiative reaffirms Cisco’s commitment to advancing socio-economic growth in South Africa by accelerating the digital economy. We believe that by empowering communities and businesses with key tools and technologies, they will thrive in South Africa and beyond.” 

Cisco and the DCDT will collaborate in several areas including:

  • Economic Development: Cisco will expand its network of EDGE (“Experience, Design, GTM (Go to Market) and Earn”) Centres to support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the technology sector with business mentoring, incubation and training opportunities to help advance their market access and exposure. Cisco will also support the DCDT DigiTech programme aimed at advancing the commercialization of locally developed digital innovations.
  • Growing South Africa’s Digital Economy with Skills and Talent Development for All: Leveraging the Cisco Networking Academy, one of the world’s largest and long-standing IT skills-to-jobs programmes, Cisco will strengthen its collaboration with technical and vocational education and training (“TVET”) colleges and work with DCDT to establish new Cisco Networking Academy partnerships in correctional facilities. Cisco will also continue to support the creation of Digital Learning Hubs in public libraries.
  • Building a Sustainable and Secure Critical National Infrastructure: Cisco and DCDT will identify projects that build and improve South Africa’s underlying digital infrastructure and foundational services in key areas including energy, transportation, healthcare, government services, agriculture, mining, national ports, broadband connectivity, modernisation of government IT infrastructure and national cybersecurity.
  • Digitisation of Government Services and Preparing the Public Sector Workforce for a Digital Future: Leveraging Cisco’s Digital Solutions for Connected Government Services, Cisco will help develop architecture blueprints focused on citizen experience, mission critical services, public safety, justice and cybersecurity. Cisco will also work with the Department of Communications and Digital Technology (DCDT) to help make digital education content available to government employees and officials through the establishment of a Government Digital Academy.
  • Highlights of the first phase of the DCDT-Cisco Country Digital Acceleration Program in South Africa:
  • Through collaboration with tertiary education institutions and TVET (Technical, Vocational Education and Training) colleges, Cisco’s Networking Academy has trained nearly 260,000 students, of which 50% identify as female.
  • As of end November 2023, Cisco will have six EDGE Centres across South Africa, beginning with the first EDGE Centre in Pretoria in 2018 and, most recently, two EDGE Centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town in collaboration with WomHub, a female-led business incubator. 
  • Over the past years, CDA and the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) launched a series of digital learning hubs across the country.
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