Cisco pledges to digitally empower one million in Africa

At the Global Citizen 'Mandela 100' festival, hosted in Johannesburg recently, multinational tech firm Cisco has announced its ambition to help ten million people worldwide (and one million people across Africa) to secure jobs in the digital economy.

In a statement the company explained that campaign will be rolled out over the next five years and the in-kind value is US$1.5 billion.

Cisco used the event to announce Wawira Njiru from Kenya as the winner of the Global Citizen Youth Leadership prize.

According to the company, this award recognises youth leaders between 18 and 30 "who have made a measurable impact on one of the UN's Global Goals, and who inspires others to do the same."

It carries with it a US$250 000 prize.

Njiru is the Founder and Executive Director of Food for Education, an organisation that works with vulnerable children in Kenyan public schools to improve their lives by providing subsidised, nutritious school lunches.

In the next 3 years, she aims to increase the number of school lunches from the current 2000 to 20,000 a day in year 1; 50,000 a day in year 2 and 100,000 a day in year 3.

Clayton Naidoo, Cisco's general manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said, "We are proud to be part of this remarkable campaign to empower citizens globally and contribute to improving the lives of marginalized communities in Africa and around the world. This commitment is in keeping with Nelson Mandela's vision to alleviate poverty, especially in Africa."

"We are also overwhelmed by the huge support from global citizens who helped make this possible. It goes to show that if we all stand together for a common purpose, it can become a reality. Let's continue to roll up our sleeves and make the impossible possible."

In early November 2018, Cisco South Africa launched the R10-million incubation hub, the Cisco Edge Incubation Centre.

The centre was established to provide businesses with access to Cisco technology, as well as training and enablement programs. The focus will be on three sectors: the green economy, ICT and bio-economy.

Primarily, SMMEs will have access to digital workspaces, broadband connectivity, video conferencing and collaboration platforms, along with boardroom and training facilities.

The company plans to establish more centres across the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, with South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya identified as primary initial targets.