Cisco announces investment plan for Saudi Arabia

Networking behemoth Cisco has announced plans to invest more than US$265m in Saudi Arabia during the next five years. The financial injection will be used to increase headcount, provide leasing and financial solutions for customers and partners, and further develop in-country education initiatives.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  April 19, 2006

Networking behemoth Cisco has announced plans to invest more than US$265m in Saudi Arabia during the next five years. The financial injection will be used to increase staffing levels in the Kingdom, provide leasing and financial solutions for customers and partners, and further develop in-country education initiatives. The announcement was made by John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco during a visit to the Kingdom and highlights the growing importance of the Saudi market in the global economy. “Saudi Arabia is experiencing a transformation as it expands its economic growth opportunities into new sectors using information technology,” said Chambers. “Today’s announcement of our investment plans in Saudi Arabia reflects our alignment with the country’s focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and education, which we believe will help drive the 21st century global economy.” The announcement was also made with the support of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). “This affirms SAGIA’s commitment in attracting investments by leading multinational corporations such as Cisco Systems. SAGIA helps provide a positive environment for foreign investors to support the Kingdom’s vision of being an important part of the global economy. In this regard, Cisco Systems’ investments will play a critical role in transforming the ICT and educational sectors in Saudi Arabia,” commented His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh, Governor of SAGIA. As part of its five-year investment plan, Cisco will look to increase its headcount in the Kingdom from approximately 70 today to 600 employees. The vendor also wants to provide leasing and financial solutions to Cisco customers and partners in the Kingdom through Cisco Systems Capital. Cisco also plans to develop a technology and entrepreneurship innovation centre to demonstrate the positive impact technology has on productivity across different vertical markets. Cisco will also sponsor a Saudi technology innovation and entrepreneurship institute, incubation space for local start-ups, research and development activities, labs and demonstration centres and an academic chair in entrepreneurship. Cisco has also pledged to provide the equipment, training, education and support required to network 2,000 homes in underprivileged communities in the Kingdom in support of similar public-private efforts, such as those led by King Abdullah. In addition to the 42 networking academies that Cisco already has across Saudi Arabia, the company also plans to roll out 100 more during the next five years and will provide enhanced technical programmes in concert with leading local universities. Cisco will also extend its networking academy programme through the establishment of a ‘Netversity’ in Saudi Arabia, which will partner with public education organisations and provide advanced business and technical training to align Saudi youth with the needs of world-class employers. As Saudi Arabia transforms itself into a connected Kingdom, Cisco claims that the country is well positioned to leapfrog more mature markets in terms of technology adoption. Cisco first established operations in Saudi Arabia in 1998 and today maintains offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar.

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