07 March 2013

USAID, Cisco and ICT go to Burma

As Burma makes good on its democratic reforms, USAID and the private sector are making they way into the country. A partnership between USAID and Cisco announced the establishment of two Cisco Networking Academies  that will support ICT training in Burma. Here is what the press release says:
“Technology can serve as a powerful tool to advance the country’s development while contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” Dr. Shah said during his first visit to Rangoon. “ICT can expand economic opportunities, transform public service delivery, and provide more opportunities for citizen engagement.”

As part of a longstanding engagement with USAID, Cisco will donate networking equipment for labs in two educational institutions and provide career skills training for up to 15 university faculty staff to support the program. Cisco has established over 10,000 Networking Academies in 165 countries, helping individuals build ICT skills and prepare for industry-recognized certifications and entry-level ICT careers in most industries. Students develop foundational skills in ICT while acquiring career skills in problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking.

"Cisco has a long track record of supporting the development of emerging economies through education, and the Cisco Networking Academy program will equip students in Burma with industry relevant skills for the 21st century workforce, as they transform their country and their communities,” said Sandy Walsh, regional director of Cisco’s Social Innovation Group in Asia Pacific.

While in Rangoon, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah participated in a technology fair hosted by the Myanmar Computer Federation (MCF) where he met with local entrepreneurs, other industry leaders, and students engaged in the country’s ICT sector.

“We welcome USAID’s interest in our country’s ICT sector. Opportunities like this will help pave the way for possible collaboration to promote greater innovation and entrepreneurship to transform our country’s future development,” said Khun Oo, President of MCF.
It also mentions that USAID was joined by Cisco, Google, HP, Intel, and Microsoft in a 'technology delegation' to Burma recently. Apparently HP is considering bringing its HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs program to Burma and the other companies are weighing similar ideas or expanding their technology training and education programs in the country.

Not really big news itself, but a sign of what may come in regards to US-Burma relations and ways that US companies will try to enter the country.