Cisco, Portugal, António Costa, Chuck Robbins
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins (Left) and Portugal Prime Minister António Costa. (Photo: Chuck Robbins/Twitter)

The Government of and Cisco signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on startups, digital infrastructure, digital skills, and cybersecurity. The signing followed a meeting between Portugal’s Prime Minister , Cisco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins, and Sofia Tenreiro, General Manager of Cisco Portugal.

Under the MoU, over the next two years, Portugal and US-based network technology giant will cooperate to capture opportunities presented by a digital economy, with the aim to positively impact economic growth, education, innovation, and competitiveness as well as social inclusion and quality of life in Portugal, said a statement.

According to Cisco, the MoU will focus on several key points that are part of Portugal’s National Reforms Program. These include support for entrepreneurship and business innovation, with a specific focus on start-ups; increasing and improving digital skills; the application of innovative digital technologies across public sector services, education, Industry 4.0, mobility; and cybersecurity.

“By accelerating the national digitization agenda, Portugal can increase GDP growth, create , and improve digital inclusion for our people and businesses. We strongly welcome Cisco’s contribution to create a sustainable innovation ecosystem that will enable our country to better compete in the global digital economy,” said António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal.

In Portugal, supporting tech start-ups is one of the main pillars of the government’s digital strategy. With this MoU, Cisco will step up its collaboration with Startup Portugal in areas such as security, mobility, and Internet of Things. Cisco said it also intends to evaluate support for other start-up programs and provide local start-ups with access to its European Venture Capital initiative and Incubation program to help them accelerate their business and expand internationally.

On digital skill, Cisco will use its Cisco Networking Academy program to provide training for digital skills, with courses focused on networks and cybersecurity. Company said, Cisco and the Ministry of Education will evaluate the use of Cisco Networking Academy content in secondary schools, and there is an objective to reach other organizations and people above the age of 45. “The goal is to increase the annual number of students from around 3,000 currently to 7,000 by 2020,” said networking firm.

In areas of connected government and public services, the partnership includes working with several ministries, with a focus on public administration modernization, health, justice, and defense.  Cisco will work to create platforms that will help enable extensive government collaboration and digital services.

Portugal’s government launched a four-year Industry 4.0 plan to capture the benefits of digitization in strategic sectors. Cisco will support this plan by focusing on tourism, transportation, cities, and regions. The goal of this pillar is to improve services to citizens, visitors, and businesses, as well as to help competitiveness and operational efficiency. Cisco said it also intends to work with Turismo de Portugal to take advantage of Wi-Fi with analytics to improve experience and services and attract more visitors to the historical centers in Portugal. Cooperation in specific EU programs such as WiFi4EU to improve public wireless services is also planned.

On cybersecurity and digital infrastructures, Cisco will collaborate with ministries and other entities such as Gabinete Nacional de Segurança to help ensure safety and privacy in critical national infrastructures. Cisco will help to design and consolidate national digital infrastructures as the platform for driving innovation, automation, and security across ministries.

“Cisco is proud to partner with Portugal’s government, businesses, and citizens in their commitment to digitize the nation and become a European leader in digital transformation. We are committed to helping accelerate the Portuguese ecosystem of talent, entrepreneurship, and innovation that is key to creating a digital Portugal, and can bring even greater value to the country,” said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO, Cisco.

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