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Cisco reaffirms Saudi pledge

KSA will continue to top Cisco agenda in 2007

As the year draws to a close, networking giant Cisco has reaffirmed its commitment to Saudi Arabia stating that the Kingdom will remain at the top of its priorities for regional investment.

The vendor announced in April its intention to plough US$265million into its operations and training initiatives in the Kingdom.

Cisco Saudi Arabia general manager Dr Badr Al-Badr said that the firm’s investment in training ICT professionals in the Kingdom would continue to be a key focus in 2007.

“Cisco’s investment aims to develop the performance of education and training in the ICT sector in the Kingdom. This will be done through creating an optimal environment that can deliver national cadres, highly qualified to use top-notch technologies in the sector,” Al-Badr said in a statement.

“We are also working on arming our national graduates with the expertise and skills that enable them to handle their responsibilities in the course of the economic development which all of us are targeting,” he added.

The networking company is funding an array of initiatives in the Kingdom, including the development of a technology and entrepreneurship innovation centre, which is intended to demonstrate the positive impact technology has on productivity across different verticals.

The vendor has also committed to help people in low income areas access ICT training schemes by providing the equipment, training, education and support required to network 2,000 homes in low income communities in the Kingdom.

Other plans that Cisco has for Saudi Arabia include sponsoring a Saudi technology innovation and entrepreneurship institute that will act as an incubation space for local start-ups, research and development activities, labs and demonstrations centres in the region; providing leasing and financial solutions to its customers and partners in the region; and increasing its number of NetAcad networking academies across the country.

Cisco currently has 46 networking academies in Saudi Arabia and plans to roll out an additional 100 more over the next five years.

The vendor also plans an extension to its networking academy program in the form of its ‘netversity’ scheme in Saudi Arabia, which will partner with public education organisations to provide advanced business and technical training to help Saudi youth understand the needs of employers.

On top of the educational related initiatives, Cisco is also looking to develop its operations in the region. It previously announced plans to increase the number of employees it has in the region to 600 by the end of the five-year period, up from 130 at present.

“Saudi Arabia is experiencing a transformation as it expands its economic growth opportunities into new sectors using information technology,” commented John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, as he announced the investment into the Kingdom in April.

The investment has so far paid off for the vendor. Saudi Arabia was Cisco’s fastest growing market worldwide in fiscal 2006, according to the company.

“The company’s growth in KSA exhibits the leading role played by Saudi organisations in adopting innovative technologies and solutions.

“With Cisco’s plans to invest and expand our presence in the region, it is the ideal partner for Saudi organisations, helping them to be more innovative, efficient and productive,” Al-Badr went on to say.