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Cisco to promote local innovation in Nigeria

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By Usman Oladimeji

SMMEs will be provided with Cisco’s cutting-edge technology and training.

A global leader in IT, Cisco, has opened an EDGE Centre for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME), complementing its plan to promote local innovation, boost economic growth, and create new jobs in Nigeria. The center was established by Cisco in collaboration with TD Africa, a leading provider of technology solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, to serve as a chamber for indigenous small and medium-sized businesses by providing them access to Cisco’s cutting-edge communication and collaboration technology as well as training and enablement programmes. SMMEs will also get access to Cisco’s global experts that can help them create digital business concepts and ideas.

EDGE, which represents “Experience, Design, GTM (Go to Market), and Earn,” aims to facilitate the sharing of business knowledge in order to spur innovation, aid in the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in the digital realm, hasten the rate at which these enterprises enter the market, and so generate new local jobs. The center serves three main purposes: it provides an avenue for local partners to exhibit technologies and host client events; it provides local innovators and entrepreneurs with resources and tools to help them create safer, smarter, and more interconnected solutions; and it provides training programs and education in cutting-edge digital technologies.

Individuals provided opportunity to explore advanced technologies.

With Cisco’s establishment in Nigeria, the country will have access to digital skills training, innovation incubation, and cutting-edge technology, all of which will help Nigeria realize the inclusive digital future that its thriving economy and young population presents. Cisco’s Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer, Fran Katsoudas, stated that the company is excited to have Nigeria join the Cisco Country Digital Acceleration programme (CDA) and to collaborate with the country’s businesses, government, and academic institutions, enabling them to take charge in defining the future and driving economic and social inclusion.

Kashifu Inwa Abdullahi, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), stated that the Centre aims to offer citizens, particularly startups, the opportunity to explore advanced technologies and state-of-the-art resources to design and develop prototypes. They will also get access to mentorship and expertise to facilitate the commercialization of their products and generate profits. He said that the country’s young population is its greatest asset, not its oil reserves, because human capital is vital to the success of a digital economy. He said that the majority of companies are capitalizing on this pool of skilled individuals.

NITDA and Cisco inked a MoU within the purview of CDA in May.

The DG also emphasized the Centre’s contribution to the nation’s economic development and participation in the global digital economy, noting that the Centre’s mission is in perfect harmony with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy. The EDGE Centre is an initiative under Cisco’s country Acceleration Programme (CDA) in Nigeria. In May of this year, Cisco and NITDA inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) within the purview of CDA with the intention of bolstering the national digital transformation goal and providing aid in the development of digital skills training and development.

Chioma Chimere, TD Africa’s Coordinating Managing Director mentioned that the goal of this partnership with Cisco is to support SMMEs to grow rapidly by providing them access to the technology, resources, and knowledge needed to excel in the digital realm. By encouraging skill retention and development, it can be guaranteed that individuals are provided with the utmost expertise to flourish in today’s rapidly developing technology field. Chimere noted that it is clear that with collaboration it would propel GROWTH of the fiscal year’s theme, and as well generate new employment prospects, thereby setting the groundwork for a more fulfilling and inclusive tomorrow.

Over 400,000 Nigerians have been trained in digital and cybersecurity.

Currently, Cisco Networking Academy, one of the longest-standing IT skills-to-jobs, trains over 120,000 students at 228 academies across Nigeria, making it a crucial component of the CDA programme in the country. Over 400,000 people in Nigeria have been trained in digital and cybersecurity under the same program. Since its inception, in 2015, CDA has expanded to implement programs in 49 nations and more than 1,500 ongoing or completed projects, covering more than two-thirds of the world’s population and 75 percent of the global GDP.

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