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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cisco breaks new grounds in West Africa

CISCO Systems has continued to break new grounds in the West African region in the last 12 months of its operational presence in the sub-region.

Managing Director, Cisco West Africa, Mr. Maduka Emelife, while disclosing this said that after one year of setting up its West Africa office in Lagos-Nigeria, the firm has stepped up its drive to stimulate social and economic development across the sub region.

This came as Cisco warms up to enter Liberia, with a workshop billed to take off today, Wednesday, April 25, this year.

Mr. Emelife who spoke through the Marketing Manager, Cisco Nigeria, Mr. Owen Nwelih, noted for instance, that in Nigeria, the company has established a strong and growing presence in both the public and private sectors, stressing that as at today, Cisco has mutually rewarding partnerships with leading corporations across both sectors and helping to provide robust access as a vital catalyst for economic productivity and development.

He also revealed that on April 4, 2007, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced a partnership between Cisco and Federal Ministry of Education.

He said that under the terms of this arrangement, Cisco would be assisting the government in training and strengthening the skills of some 20,000 university graduates; converting them from otherwise unemployable graduates, to knowledge workers, who are immediately employable in the networking, telecommunications and Internet economy.

“The partnership will fall under the purview of the Cisco Network Academy, a global corporate social responsibility vehicle of Cisco whose objective is to assist students all over the world in building their knowledge and skill base in the area of information and communications technology,” he said.

Mr. Emelife pointed out that Cisco currently has over 10,000 academies across the world and these academies impart skills via a uniform global certification scheme covering different aspects of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and spanning specific periods.

He added that Cisco’s certification is globally recognized and typically, people are more attractive to employers and potential employers when they posses the Cisco certification which are awarded by its academies.

“Some of the certifications are Cisco Certified Network Associate - CCNA, Cisco Certified Network Professional - CCNP and the ultimate certification in networking, Cisco Certified Internet Expert – CCIE,” he said.

Just as Cisco reiterated its commitment to bear about 84 per cent of the USD 34 million fee which the partnership is expected to gulp, with the Nigerian government bearing the balance of 16 per cent.

Mr. Emelife, was also quoted as saying that the Nigerian project is specially dear to Cisco and is just one of a series of efforts by the organisation to actively assist in the technological empowerment and in that way, the economic development of the West African sub region.

He further said that the Liberian workshop would be graced by the President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her cabinet members, legislature and the key parastatals in Liberia.

“The workshop would help to produce a clear and executable plan for the development of national communications infrastructure which will in turn drive the transformation of Liberia’s social and economic sectors,” he said, noting that Cisco plans to deploy its significant technical and business resources to assist the Liberian government in developing a robust roadmap for the transformation of country.

According to Emelife, Cisco’s chief executive, Mr. John Chambers “has made a definitive statement to the effect that the two main drivers of change in the world today are education and the Internet,” emphasizing that his firm desires to have this applied to Liberia as in elsewhere in the world and consequently, in the course of the workshop in Liberia.

“We will also be examining ways by which Cisco can assist the Liberian Government in addressing the knowledge and skills shortages in the country” he said.

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