Cisco Systems announced yesterday that it plans to invest over $265 million in Saudi Arabia over the next five years. The California-based Internet networking giant also signed a strategic plan for investment with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
The plan includes investments in staffing, leasing and finance, innovation hubs, public-private partnerships, education and philanthropy, underscoring the expansion of information technology in the Saudi market, according to a press release on Cisco’s Web site.
“Saudi Arabia is experiencing a transformation as it expands its economic growth opportunities into new sectors using information technology,” said Cisco President John Chambers in the press release. “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.”
Governor of SAGIA Amr Al-Dabbagh said that the plan reaffirms SAGIA’s commitment to encouraging leading international companies to enter the Saudi market.
Cisco’s plan includes: increasing the number of its employees in Saudi Arabia from 70 to 600; establishing a division called Cisco Systems Capital that will provide leasing and other financial solutions; establishing a center for innovation and technology; networking 2,000 underprivileged Saudi homes; and creating 100 networking academies that will provide advanced technical training for Saudis.
Cisco has had a presence in Saudi Arabia since 1998. Today, it has offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar.