Clayton Naidoo, General Manager for Sub Saharan Africa at Cisco. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN - The Minister of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Clayton Naidoo, General Manager for Sub Saharan Africa at Cisco, have 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, innovation and help drive economic growth and sustainable and equitable communities. 

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 the 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,"  added Naidoo.

The MoU outlines three specific areas where Cisco can best contribute to South Africa’s digitization objectives. 

These include:

1. Skills and talent development

2. Job creation

3. 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 program began, 30 percent of them female. 

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. 

Cisco will also create content and tools that can be deployed to create Digital Learning Hubs in public libraries, accessible by the local population and will 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 Center in Pretoria, South Africa. Since then, it has continued to expand the reach of EDGE, opening incubation centers in Dube Trade Port, KZN. The objective of the centers is to 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. The EDGE centers provide small and medium businesses state-of-the-art Cisco technology, along with training and enablement programs. Through the CDA program Cisco plans to expand the reach of the Edge centers and to establish similar centers in motre  provinces across the country. 

National Cyber Security

Cisco will work with the Government in leveraging Cisco’s world leading Cyber Security capabilities to help with the protection of the South African government and economy from cyber-attacks and to help strengthen the country’s capabilities in cyber defense. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE