Cisco unveils $1.58bn UAE investment package

Plan includes expanding head count, local training centres and research sponsorship.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  January 22, 2008

US networking giant Cisco on Monday unveiled a 5.8 billion-UAE dirham ($1.58 billion) information and communications technology (ICT) investment package for the UAE.

The five-year plan includes expanded head count, new offices, local training centres and sponsorship of Dubai School of Government research.

The plan was announced as part of a regional visit by Cisco CEO and chairman John Chambers.

As part of the investment, Cisco said it wouldl expand its headcount by 650 in the UAE by the end of 2010. The company is already set to open a new regional headquarters at Dubai's Knowledge Village in April of this year, and said it would also open an Abu Dhabi office in June.

The plan also includes an expansion of the Cisco Networking Academies programme, which works with academic institutions to give students skills and experience to prepare them for careers in the IT sector. At present the company has 39 academies in the UAE.

The company said it was also considering up to $400 million in channel and customer financing, through Cisco Systems Capital Corporation. The funding would be provided over five years, possibly through third party banking partners or through the establishment of a financial services company in Dubai.

"This investment demonstrates our continued, long-term commitment to the UAE. The vision of the country's leadership has allowed it to transition quickly to a ‘connected' world," said Paul Mountford, president of emerging markets at Cisco said.

"We look forward to continued collaboration working closely with the government to help support and realize the nation's ambitious development and growth vision."

In April 2006 Cisco pledged an investment of 1 billion Saudi riyals ($265 million) to the Saudi Arabian ICT sector.

Cisco's Saudi investment plan includes increasing headcount in the kingdom from 70 to 600 employees and the establishment of a technology and entrepreneurship centre and 100 new networking academies to add to the existing 42 academies in the country.

The company also said that it would provide equipment and support for a project to provide networking for 2,000 underprivileged homes.

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