In a thumping affirmation of Dubai’s vision to become a knowledge-driven economy and cementing its place as the technology hub of the region, the world’s largest networking and communications company, Cisco Systems, said it will open its regional headquarters in the emirate this April.
Cisco Systems will invest Dh5.8 billion in the UAE’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector over the next five years.
Sam Al Kharrat, Cisco’s managing director for the Gulf and Pakistan, told Emirates Business that the company’s investment has four distinct components – the Dubai headquarters followed by an office in Abu Dhabi; doubling the number of Cisco networking academies in the country from 19 to 39; developing the company’s connected real estate solutions divisions; and establishing a financial services company in the Dubai International Financial Centre.
As part of its investment, Cisco will increase the number of professionals working out of the UAE from 300 to 1,000 by 2010.
It is aimed at supporting the 2015 vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to usher the nation on a knowledge-based growth and development plan, a senior executive at Cisco said.
Present at the announcement were UAE Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Mohammed Al Gergawi, Executive Chairman of Tecom Investments Ahmed bin Byat and Chairman and CEO of Cisco John Chambers
“This investment has been in the planning and development phase for two years prior to this announcement,” Sam Al Kharrat, Managing Director of Cisco for the Gulf and Pakistan told Emirates Business in a telephone interview yesterday.
“The investment will be essentially channelled in four areas. First, Cisco will open a new regional headquarters in Dubai in April, followed by an office in Abu Dhabi later in the year.
“Part of the investment strategy is to add 700 new Cisco professionals to those already operating out of the UAE, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Al Kharrat said.
“The second initiative will be to double the number of Cisco networking academies to 39 over the next three to five years.
“The third initiative will be to develop connected real estate solutions – which would provide local companies with the expertise and support mechanism to develop global business models.
“Fourth, Cisco Capital will invest up to $400 million in the UAE over a five-year period through the establishment of a financial services company in the DIFC [Dubai International Financial Centre]. As part of this investment, Cisco will help companies in the DIFC to develop financing mechanisms and provide financing solutions for companies interested in developing ICT models for their businesses,” Al Kharrat said.
Cisco will also fund a study by the Dubai School of Government on how businesses and partnerships are being built across the Middle East and North Africa region.
The company announced yesterday that Cisco’s Dubai office will host one of the most advanced customer briefing centres in the world, allowing Cisco to showcase the latest innovations in internet protocol (IP) networking technology, such as Cisco TelePresence.
Paul Mountford, President, Emerging Markets, at Cisco Systems, said: “Unburdened by legacy technology, the UAE is able to deploy the most advanced IP solutions, placing the country at the forefront of the internet economy. This plan builds on Cisco’s 15-year history in the region and demonstrates our commitment to the future.”
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