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Role of Technology in the Development of Sustainable Megacities in Asia

Southeast Asia has one of the world’s fastest urbanization rates at 3.1% annually. 11 of the world’s 19 megacities are already in Asia. Over the next fifteen years, 350 million people will move to China’s large urban centers. As a result, 221 cities in China will have a population of 1 million or larger. Today, the whole of Europe only has 35 cities this big.

How will Asia’s rapidly growing urban centers adapt their infrastructure and mobility models to manage their vulnerability to climate change?

This was the question posed to experts on the panel session entitled: “Megacities -- the making of sustainable marketplaces of the future”.

Munish Khetrapal, Cisco’s head of Smart+Connected Communities in Asia, spoke about how the network can become the platform to help cities solve these problems.

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East Asia Ponders Sustainable Future at WEF on East Asia regional event

The World Economic Forum on East Asia opened today, Sunday June 6, 2010, in Ho Chih Minh City, with all of the Asian leaders committing to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability. Technology, in particular, networking technology, can be the crucial ingredient to help these fast growing countries achieve their goals.

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Cisco Entrepreneur Institute Arrives to Azerbaijan

With the start of the new academic season in fall 2010, young entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan will have the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and learn about strategic business planning, venture capital relationships, funding and investment and the use the information and communications technologies (ICT) at the newly established Cisco Entrepreneur Institute in the capital city Baku.

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Innovation for Country Transformation

A few months ago, I had the honor of representing the United States as part of the first ever U.S. – Russia Innovation Dialogue. This delegation was a part of the broader initiative launched by the Bilateral Presidential Commission created by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in July 2009. The delegation consisted of senior executives from eBay, EDventure, Mozilla, Howcast, Twitter, Social Gaming Network, Katalyst, the NY Academy of Sciences and included White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. The team was led by Jared Cohen from the U.S. Secretary of State Policy Planning staff and Howard Solomon of the National Security Council.

Admittedly when I was first approached by the State Department to be a member of this delegation, I was a bit skeptical. I had been to Russia on business before and was not sure why I was being asked to be part of what appeared to be a political diplomacy effort. I thought that perhaps someone from Cisco Government Relations organization or the Cisco Russia team would be better suited to be part of the team. However as I learned more about the intent of the delegation, I realized that the dialogue is to focus on the role of innovation and technology to enrich the relationship between the two countries.

During the weeklong trip through Moscow and Novosibirsk, Siberia, my fellow delegates and I engaged in conversations with a wide variety of groups across Russia. Our itinerary spanned sessions with government officials, non-governmental organizations, business leaders from the private sector, entrepreneurs, start-ups, academics, university students, and high school students. The days were packed with activity and the intellectual rapport was exciting. The most memorable part of the trip for me was my conversations with high school students. It was very rewarding to see these bright young students ask us questions and share their dreams. When we asked them for their impressions of Americans, they answered frankly that they thought Americans were “adventurous and bold but complain a lot.”:)

The U.S. – Russian Dialogue has committed to twenty deliverables within the areas of:  education, entrepreneurship training, and mentorship, anti-trafficking and child protection, combating cyber-crime, health, e-governance and promoting cultural collaboration. You can read more on “Resetting U.S. – Russia Relations with a Mix of Tech and Diplomacy” by Jared Cohen here

So why is all this relevant to Cisco?

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Africa: The broadband opportunity

We at Cisco had the opportunity to participate in the World Economic Forum in Africa last week (May 5-7/2010) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and not only discuss Africa’s problems and challenges but to experience them firsthand: the traffic, the lack of infrastructure and the poverty.

But despite the huge problems and challenges the continent is facing, the overall mood of the participants was very positive, focused more on how to solve the problems and less on discussing them.

One of the more frequently discussed ideas during the sessions was Africa’s lack of integration  with the overall global economy and the continent’s marginalization. For example, only 3.5 % of global exports come from Africa and Africa receives less than 1% of global foreign direct investments. And if we consider Africa has a 1 billion population of which 60 percent are young people, something needs to be done and be done now.

Rethinking Africa’s competitiveness: Yvon Le Roux, Cisco vice-president for Africa and Levant



ICT could play an important role inending the continent’s marginalization and further insert Africa into the global economy. This was our contribution to the dialogue in Tanzania both at public and private sessions and at the private meetings we had with governments and businesses from the region. We made the point clear: Africa has emerged from the global crisis in strong shape and economic growth is set to continue, but current rates of growth will not be enough to decisively reduce the gap with the rest of the world. Broadband’s potential for productivity improvements can boost economic growth and help narrow this gap. The dramatic increase in international bandwidth that the new submarine cables offer is very timely and the opportunity it represents should be integrated into national development strategies.

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