John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco

Cisco will invest USD10 million to seed a sustainable model of job creation and economic development in Egypt.

The venture capital investment will be targeted at small businesses that provide innovative products, services and solutions.

Cisco said in a statement today that it believes job creation and an environment that creates opportunities for Egyptian citizens are the key to sustainable economic development.

The announcement was described as another key milestone in the collaboration between Egypt's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and its Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) with Cisco in support of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Egypt.

Dr. Magued Osman, Egypt’ s minister of communications and information technology, said: The Egyptian government recognises that a properly functioning telecoms and information technology infrastructure is essential for attracting foreign investment and enabling the private sector and government to function more efficiently. The government's aim is for Egypt to become an IT hub providing IT-assisted teleservices to foreign companies. We therefore commend Cisco for this USD10 million investment, which will help us promote economic development leading to enhanced opportunities for the people of Egypt.

Cisco says businesses across Egypt are recognising the need to invest in ICT for new opportunities and growth. While ICT investment in Egypt continues to grow, essentially doubling between 2001 and 2010, ICT penetration still remains low. However, the deregulation of the telecom sector, the dramatic expansion of technology use by the younger generation, and continued investment will accelerate usage in the country.

Cisco is actively working throughout the Middle East and North Africa to support job creation and economic growth by building ICT skills and talent within the workforce as well as providing greater access to capital and to educational opportunities. Developing and addressing the growing skills gap, as well as creating entrepreneurs and leaders of the future, is at the forefront of Cisco's mission for the MENA region. Cisco has several initiatives in the region to facilitate this, including the Cisco® Networking Academy and the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute.

There are currently 333 Cisco Networking Academies in Egypt with 655 instructors and a total of 18,716 students, of which 43% are women. The program has trained almost 45,827 students since inception.

John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco, commented: In addition to strategic investments, Cisco assists governments across the globe with ongoing advice, access to international best practices, and a vast array of state-of-the-art technology solutions. We believe there is tremendous growth potential in Egypt's ICT sector and are committed to supporting Egypt's, as well as MENA's, long-term goals. It is therefore appropriate for Cisco to make this investment into the Egyptian economy and its people.

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