Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- Cisco Systems today announced an investment initiative in Saudi Arabia totaling more than US $265 million (Saudi Riyal 1 billion). This announcement was made by John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco Systems, during his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 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.”
Today’s 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.
Cisco Systems’ five-year investment plan for Saudi Arabia will allocate investments in the following areas:
• Increase overall headcount of Cisco Systems employees in Saudi Arabia from approx. 70 to 600 employees.
• Provide leasing and other financial solutions to Cisco Systems customers and partners in the country through Cisco Systems Capital, a division of Cisco Systems, Inc.
• Develop a Cisco Systems Technology and Entrepreneurship Innovation Center to demonstrate the positive impact technology has on productivity across the different vertical markets.
o Cisco Systems will also sponsor a Saudi technology innovation and entrepreneurship institute, incubation space for local start-ups, research and development activities, labs and demonstration centers and an academic chair in entrepreneurship.
• Provide the equipment, training, education and support required to network 2000 homes in Saudi Arabia’s underprivileged communities in support of similar public-private efforts, such as those led by King Abdullah.
• Establish 100 more Networking Academies in the country to provide enhanced technical programs in concert with leading local universities. There are currently 42 networking academies across Saudi Arabia, and the additional 100 Networking Academies will be rolled out over the next five years.
• Expand the existing Cisco Systems Networking Academy program by establishing a “Netversity” in Saudi Arabia which will partner with public education organizations 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, it is well-positioned to leapfrog more traditional markets in terms of technology adoption. A recent Momentum Research Group study aimed at measuring the productivity effect of IT compared government and healthcare operations and services in Saudi Arabia to countries in Europe. The study found that Saudi Arabia was leading European countries in several areas, including the adoption of new technologies such as IP telephony and voice over IP and had a larger increase in the number of citizens using their services.
Cisco first established operations in Saudi Arabia in 1998 and today maintains offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar.