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Africa leads innovation talent during Cisco Networking Academy conmpetition

Africa trended this month when Morocco’s Hamza Jebbour and Kenya’s Charles Mutua won the Cisco Networking Academy’s NetRiders competition as the Networking Academy celebrates its 20 years’ anniversary. The two competed with over 15,400 entrants globally to win a Study Trip Prize to Cisco headquarters in San Jose, in January 2018. In total, Africa had 19 competitors in the third round of the competition which saw the two excel to first and second place respectively.

Every year, Cisco opens up its resources for young students and professionals to enter the much acclaimed Cisco NetRiders competition. The competition is part of Cisco’s CSR flagship programme, the Networking Academy (NetAcad) – launched in 1998, a global Cisco programme that offers IT skills and career building courses for learning institutions and individuals. To date, over 9500 NetAcademies have been created in more than 170 countries, with more than six million students trained.

Achieving first place, Hamza Jebbour is a 23-year-old IT Technician from Tetouan, Morocco who trained with the OFPPT Maroc. He first heard about the Cisco NetRiders competition at school where he studied and qualified for Network Engineering specializing in Switching, Routing, Cloud, System Administration and Security. Having always admired Cisco as a leader in networking, he was excited about the challenges the competition would present.

“The IT world is everything for me, every day I want to learn new technologies and new features. My goal is to primary Networking and System Administration area.” says Hamza Jebbour who went on to become number one in the competition.

This is the 3rd consecutive year where the NetRiders competition was won by an OFPPT students. OFPPT has strategically partnered with Cisco to successfully intergrate NetAcad courseware into vocational training across Morocco.

The runner up hailing from Kenya, Charles Mutua is in his final year at the Kenyatta University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. He is also a Cisco Networking Academy student focusing on CCNA Routing and Switching and CCNA Security certifications. Winning the competition has given him confidence that he can succeed in the field of Networking and he is indeed an eligible hire.

“My teachers at school always said I have an eye for solving problems in Mathematics and Physics and with the world today achieving scientific and technological advancements, this is a success story and I’ve always wanted to be part of such a success,” says Charles Mutua on his NetRiders accolade.

Kenyatta University is one of several African universities who’ve successfully intergrated NetAcad courseware within their degree qualifications, to prepare their students for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The top 5 winners will receive a choice between a CCNA Routing & Switching or CCNA Security certification voucher. Those who ranked 6th – 19th will receive a Certificate of Achievement. The top 25 receive a Certification in CCENT and IT Essentials, which gives them a foot into the door of their chosen careers.

“There is nothing more satisfying as reflecting on the impact we have made in the past twenty years of the Cisco Networking Academy. The NetRiders competition is only but one of these impact stories where Hamza, Charles and other winners and participants will now be able to be empower their country’s digital transformation efforts and will also be able to realise their own dreams,” says Alfie Hamid, Regional CSR Manager for Africa at Cisco.

Cisco has spent over US$177 million supporting Africa’s ICT education and Tech socio-economic impact sectors by partnering with Government, industry partners, educational institutions and NGOs.

Hamza Jebboure

Cisco 2017 NetRider Winner, Morocco

Charles Mutua

Cisco 2017 NetRider Runner Up, Kenya

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