Cisco Surpasses Goal: One Billion Positively Impacted

News Desk -


One year ahead of its schedule, Cisco has successfully achieved its goal of making a meaningful impact on the lives of one billion people. This accomplishment stems from the strategic use of technology and collaborative efforts with diverse partners, aligning with Cisco’s commitment to shaping an inclusive future for all.

In pursuit of its objective to positively influence one billion lives by 2025, Cisco directed its efforts toward supporting nonprofits through Social Impact grants and the Networking Academy. These initiatives aimed to develop and scale technology-driven solutions addressing critical challenges faced by communities globally. Cisco also collaborated with local and national governments, including the UAE, to empower communities with IT skills, contributing to workforce development and promoting digital inclusion. The progress was meticulously tracked through a rigorous methodology.

Reem Asaad, Vice President of Cisco Middle East and Africa, expressed pride in surpassing the one billion lives impacted milestone. She emphasized Cisco’s ongoing dedication to leveraging technology and partnerships globally to ensure a secure, connected, and inclusive future.

Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, established as a long-term partnership with national leadership, industry, and academia, aimed to stimulate innovation, boost GDP, and create job opportunities. In the UAE, the CDA program, initiated in 2018, witnessed over 20 completed digitization projects spanning various sectors such as healthcare, tourism, transportation, education, and retail.

In 2022, Cisco renewed its commitment, signing a collaboration framework with the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications Office. This collaboration focused on sustainability, cybersecurity, talent development, SME empowerment, and digital infrastructure.

Cisco also joined forces with the UAE Coders HQ in the same year to launch the ‘Sibaq Lahja’ program. This initiative aimed to equip young coders and software engineers with the skills necessary for developing and deploying AI solutions in the field of Arabic Natural Language Processing (NLP).

In 2023, Cisco collaborated with the UAE’s Ministry of Economy on a digitization initiative to provide entrepreneurs with access to innovation labs, technical expertise, and business development opportunities, intending to boost the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

Considering the advancements in generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) and the evolving cybersecurity landscape, the World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that half the global labor force may require reskilling in the next two years, with 1.1 billion jobs transformed by technology in the coming decade. Cisco Networking Academy, one of the longest-standing IT-skills-to-jobs programs globally, plays a crucial role in addressing this need.

Since its inception in the UAE in 1999, Cisco Networking Academy has provided IT skills training to over 105,000 learners, with a notable 45% female participation rate. In the 2023 fiscal year alone, over 12,000 learners participated through 38 academies across the Emirates. Globally, 95% of surveyed students cite the Academy’s impact in helping them secure jobs or pursue further education opportunities.

In response to the growing demand for digital and cybersecurity skills, Cisco announced its goal to train 10 million people over the next decade across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

The announcement coincides with the release of Cisco’s annual Purpose Report, providing comprehensive insights into the company’s latest impact, goals, and progress on environmental sustainability, social impact, digital access, philanthropy, supply chain, security and privacy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more details, refer to

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