USAID Announces Collaboration With Technology Companies to Bolster Burma's Development

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rangoon, Burma – Today, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah announced a new collaboration with Cisco, a leading networking and communications firm, to set up two Cisco Networking Academies in Burma. This initiative will provide emerging information and communications technology (ICT) skills training and increase the number of job-ready graduates for the country’s ICT sector.

“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.  

The Administrator’s visit comes a week after a USAID-led technology delegation to the country that included leading American technology firms Cisco, Google, HP, Intel, and Microsoft.  The delegation explored a range of joint opportunities to help accelerate affordable access to the Internet, strengthen transparent and efficient government, and expand digital literacy.  HP is considering introducing the HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE) program to provide online and face-to-face training in IT and business skills to students and local organizations.  Intel is looking at possibilities to introduce established programs such as Intel Teach, which has trained 13 million people globally on how teachers can use technology to improve critical thinking and other skills; and Intel Easy Steps, a self-directed digital literacy program to improve social and economic self-sufficiency among adult learners. Microsoft is also exploring teacher training programs such as Partners in Learning, which helps educators and school leaders connect and collaborate.

“These leading American firms bring innovative technology to build on the strengths and capacity that already exist among the people,” said Dr. Shah.  “USAID looks forward to continuing to work with these technology companies and with the government, private sector, and civil society on efforts to leverage the power of technology to accelerate Burma’s social and economic development.”

Last updated: January 22, 2015

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