|By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 11:46 am: Edit Post|
Cisco Helps with Digital Freedom Initiative
Cisco Helps with Digital Freedom Initiative
Cisco Helps With New Public-Private Venture Called The Digital Freedom Initiative To Help Bridge the 'Digital Divide'
# Digital Freedom Initiative
# Cisco Networking Academy Program
# Cisco Least Developed Countries Initiative
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March 17, 2003
By Julie Kaminkow, Cisco Networking Academy
Cisco, HP, and key government and non-governmental organizations have launched the Digital Freedom Initiative (DFI)-a new public-private venture with the goal of promoting technology-led economic growth in developing nations. Representatives in the initiative including Cisco's Chairman John Morgridge; US Department of Commerce Secretary Don Evans; US Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew Natsios; USA Freedom Corps Director John Bridgeland; US Peace Corps Director Gadi Vasquez; and HP CEO Carly Fiorina met recently at the Whitehouse to outline the goals of the program.
The coalition will initially focus on tactics to bridge the 'Digital Divide,' including; placing volunteers in small businesses to share business knowledge and technology expertise, promoting pro-growth regulatory and legal structures to enhance business competitiveness, and leveraging existing technology and communications infrastructure in new ways to help entrepreneurs and small businesses better compete in both the regional and global market place.
"The Digital Freedom Initiative represents an exciting new model of how different parts of the federal government, the development community, the private sector and developing nations can join forces for progress," said Commerce Secretary Don Evans in a press release.
At the event, Cisco Chairman John Morgridge highlighted how the Cisco Networking Academy Program, a program geared towards fueling networking education world-wide, has helped give students in developing countries a way to access the education they need to help develop their country's IT sector.
The Academy program focuses on meeting the urgent development needs of these countries, through the Least Developed Countries initiative which trains local workforces basic skills to build and maintain an Internet infrastructure. Currently, Cisco Networking Academy's Least Developed Countries initiative has established 83 Cisco Academies in 31 least developed countries and the program was held up as a strong example by the organizers of the Digital Freedom Initiative for fueling technical education in developing nations.
"The Networking Academy Program has been successful for two reasons: the Internet and partnerships. The Least Developed Countries Initiative is the best example of that," said Morgridge.
Several agencies and groups have pledged support for the Digital Freedom Initiative. Resources from the private sector and non-government organizations could reach $6.5 million in the first year pilot with Senegal in West Africa. Cisco and HP have pledged support to the project and will work with U.S. officials to provide on the ground expertise to help turn existing networks into better resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses. If successful the program will be rolled-out in 20 countries in the Africa, the Persian Gulf region and Latin America over a five year time-frame.
Several agencies have come together to collectively run the initiative. The US Department of Commerce is taking the lead on the program and will coordinate private sector participation and planning. The State Department will lead efforts to develop and promote a business friendly regulatory environment. USAID will direct in-country implementation and in-country teams composed of both public and private sector individuals. The USA Freedom Corps will serve as a key catalyst for private sector engagement and promote and facilitate the input of volunteers. The Peace Corps will train and equip volunteers in the respective countries who require laptops and other technology to perform their service duties.