SOUTH AFRICA – Cisco, a US-based networking solution giant, announced a US$9.49 million investment to support the digitisation of SA.

Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) initiative is a global programme aimed at accelerating national digitisation agendas to support job creation, innovation, and help drive economic growth and sustainable and equitable communities.

The investment focuses on job creation through Cisco incubation centres, skills and talent development as well as national cyber security.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the Minister of communications and digital technologies sand Clayton Naidoo, general manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Cisco, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining key areas of co-operation for SA’s digital future.

Under the MOU, 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.

Cisco says it has invested in educating and upskilling students and graduates, among them unemployed youth, through its Networking Academy, which provides students with hands-on digital skills to prepare them for careers in the digital economy.

Building on its Cisco Networking Academy, Cisco intends to strengthen its collaboration with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) 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 will create content and tools that can be deployed to create digital learning hubs in public libraries, accessible by the local population.

Cisco will work with government to make the digital skills and cyber security content available to government employees.

Since then, it has continued to expand the reach of EDGE, opening incubation centres in Dube Trade Port, KwaZulu-Natal.

The objective of the centres is to help 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, says Cisco.

The EDGE centres provide small and medium businesses with Cisco technology, along with training and enablement programmes.

Regarding national cyber security, Cisco will work with government in leveraging the company’s cyber security capabilities to help with the protection of the South African government and economy from cyber-attacks and help strengthen the country’s capabilities in cyber defence.