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Africa Connected: “Why wouldn’t the next Bill Gates come from Africa?”

As momentum builds in networking the continent, the benefits of connecting African communities become increasingly clear.

Imagine an Africa where farmers can always find the best price for their produce, where students in remote villages can interact with teachers thousands of miles away. Imagine an Africa where remote video consultations enable doctors to diagnose rural patients who would otherwise go untreated. Imagine an Africa where the great urban centers are safer for citizens thanks to modern surveillance systems. Imagine Africa Connected.

All of these advances are possible and in reach. And the good news is that they all utilize the same fundamental utility – a broadband network infrastructure and the high-speed Internet access it enables.
Today, broadband penetration across the continent is exceedingly low — at about one percent in some countries, even lower in others. Incredibly, South Africa is our most advanced with 3% penetration. By increasing the access of broadband, millions of Africans will benefit from the economic and social gains that broadband offers. One recent study by the Boston Consulting Group estimates that when Internet penetration rises by 10 percent in emerging economies, it correlates with an incremental GDP increase of one to two percent.

Yvon Le Roux, Vice President, Emerging Markets, Africa and Levant

All of these advances are possible and in reach. And the good news is that they all utilize the same fundamental utility – a broadband network infrastructure and the high-speed Internet access it enables.

Today, broadband penetration across the continent is exceedingly low — at about one percent in some countries, even lower in others. Incredibly, South Africa is our most advanced with 3% penetration. By increasing the access of broadband, millions of Africans will benefit from the economic and social gains that broadband offers. One recent study by the Boston Consulting Group estimates that when Internet penetration rises by 10 percent in emerging economies, it correlates with an incremental GDP increase of one to two percent.

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Spring time is competition time…

… for IT students and tutors across Central and Eastern Europe.

Slovakia’s first national IT Fitness Test, which kicked off early February, became a sounding success, with almost 40,000 students completing the online questionnaire. The IT Fitness Test was held as part of the European Union’s e-Skills Week initiative in Slovakia.

The test yielded some interesting data: 89% of respondents said they were regularly using social media and spend an equal amount of time using computers at school and at home.

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Social Media and Graduate Recruiting: Q&A with Sedef Buyukataman

Social media has allowed us to move to a more proactive model of recruitment where we are not just filling specific roles but we’ve been able to build communities of potential candidates who are interested in career opportunities with Cisco. 

Sedef M. Buyukataman, University Relations Manager European & Emerging Markets, Cisco

How has the use of social media changed the way Cisco recruits candidates in Emerging Markets and Europe?

We can now provide candidates with a better view of what we have available today and what position will be coming up in the future.  Social media facilitates conversations and by using tools like Facebook, for example, we can connect at a more personal level and address candidates’ questions directly and also create a broader community. 

Our hiring managers and graduate program alumni are able to join the conversation and this helps them better connect to their target audience to understand the market pool out there.

What is one example of how you use social media to recruit and what have been the outcomes?

Our Facebook community is a prime example of this.  We have an ongoing challenge of attracting females into IT careers (both engineering and non engineering backgrounds). For the month of February we ran a banner ad to target female college students (ages 18-26) in some of our key hiring countries in Europe.  The purpose was to bring more females into our community and make them aware of the types of roles we offer. 

Over the four week period we saw over 300 new females join the group and our overall demographic of female members went from 17% to 24% in this target group.  The ad only cost us 5K USD but the return is that we have more access to potential female candidates so we can show them Cisco’s commitment to Diversity and the portfolio of career opportunities available to women in IT.

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Colombian Government enters the era of TelePresence

Last week, we had the opportunity to witnesses the first TelePresence session from the Colombian Government. President Alvaro Uribe Vélez and Minister of Defense Gabriel Silva Luján inaugurated the first Cisco TelePresence™ rooms implemented by the Colombian government, with a virtual meeting between the presidential Casa de Nariño and the Ministry of Defense in Bogotá.

The TelePresence rooms will facilitate new methods of collaboration across government using virtual meetings and will allow government officials to meet face to face while avoiding transportation delays, and are designed to support a rapid and effective decision-making process in government. 

President Uribe seemed very pleased with the experience and said: “I would like to have this technology solution in all government departments. They bring huge benefits in terms of productivity, help decrease travel expenses and reduce costs. The adoption of this technology is a crucial step and in name of the Colombian Government we thank Cisco.”

President Uribe of Colombia experiences Cisco TelePresence

Simbad Ceballos, general manager Cisco Colombia explains to President Uribe in Casa de Nariño the benefits of the TelePresence solution minutes before the meeting with the Minister of Defense. At the other side of the Telepresence, Luis Alejandro Arbeláez, vice minister of defense and Manuel Neira, general secretary of the Minister.

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International Women’s Day: Inspirational Women in the Middle East

Women in business have transcended the need for patronising political correctness. It is no longer just about diversity in the workplace; it is about inclusion and profitability. SMB Advisor Middle East features highly inspirational achievers this month – who just happen to be women.  And Cisco’s Clare Jones is among those inspirational women.

Claire Jones is the UAE Regional Sales Manager for small and medium business for Cisco. She has been working at Cisco for the past 5 years.  She is a British national who moved to Dubai in 1994.

Do you feel empowerment starts with the self?  Absolutely! I believe that every woman has as much of a chance as any man to be successful in business. It is not gender specific. It starts with you. Loving what you do is self-empowerment in itself. It gives you confidence to become the best you can.

Have you worked in other countries besides the UAE? How different have the experiences been?  Although I was not based outside the UAE, I have worked across the entire Gulf, North Africa and Pakistan. My experience has been rewarding in each country. My customers and colleagues have always been respectful of me and what I do.

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