Cisco expands investment and operations in Kingdom

Cisco Systems is ploughing US$265million into Saudi Arabia to expand its operations in the Kingdom, the networking giant revealed this month.

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By  Chris Whyatt Published  April 30, 2006

Cisco Systems is ploughing US$265million into Saudi Arabia to expand its operations in the Kingdom, the networking giant revealed this month. The company will add hundreds of new employees in the Kingdom boosting its direct headcount from 70 to 600. Other investments will include the establishment of network training centres and sponsorship of a technology innovation and entrepreneurship institute that, it is hoped, will act as an incubation space for Saudi start-up ventures. Leasing and finance deals for Cisco customers and partners, public-private partnerships, and in-country education and philanthropy projects are also planned, all of which will highlight the expansion of IT in the Saudi market, according to Cisco. “Saudi Arabia is experiencing a transformation as it expands its economic growth opportunities into new sectors using info- rmation technology,” said John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, who made the announcement during a visit to Saudi Arabia this month in which he stressed the growing importance of the Saudi market in the global economy. “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,” he added. Cisco’s five-year investment plan will also allocate investments to provide the equipment, training, education and support required to network 2000 homes in Saudi Arabia’s underprivileged communities. Cisco also aims to establish a further 100 Networking Academies in KSA to provide enhanced technical programs in concert with leading local universities. There are currently 42 networking academies in place. The Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), which is helping support Cisco’s five-year plan, said that the network vendor’s investments will play a ‘critical role’ in transforming the ICT and educational sectors in Saudi Arabia. “This [deal] affirms SAGIA’s commitment in attracting investments by leading multinational corporations such as Cisco Systems,” said HE Amr Al-Dabbagh, Governor of SAGIA. “SAGIA helps provide a positive environment for foreign investors to support the Kingdom’s vision of being an important part of the global economy,” he went on to add. A recent Momentum Research Group study — sponsored by Cisco and the Saudi government — claimed that Saudi Arabia’s public sector is making better use of technology than some of its European counterparts (see IT Weekly 16 - 22 April, 2006). Investments in IT within Saudi’s government and healthcare arenas led to increased citizen satisfaction in the past year, increasing by 44% in 2005, according to the Net Impact Saudi Arabia 2005 study released this month, comparing favou- rably with the European average of 29% improvement in customer satisfaction.

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