LEAP 2024: Cisco to establish new regional HQ in Riyadh

The company also extended its country digitization program to support digital transformation
LEAP 2024: Cisco to establish new regional HQ in Riyadh
Cisco at LEAP 2024. (Supplied)

During the ongoing LEAP 2024 tech event in Riyadh, Cisco announced new strategic initiatives in Saudi Arabia. These initiatives aim to strengthen Cisco’s presence in the Kingdom and reinforce its dedication to customers and partners. By leveraging the Regional Headquarter license granted by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Investment, Cisco revealed its plans to establish a new regional head office in Riyadh. Additionally, the company launched a new phase of its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program.

Read more: Cisco: Over 90 percent of organizations in Saudi Arabia have an AI strategy in place or under development

Strengthening the technology landscape

Commenting on the announcement, H.E. vice minister of Communications and Information Technology, Eng. Haitham bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ohali, said, “Technology is a key enabler in achieving the Saudi Vision 2030. Investments of global tech players like Cisco play a crucial role in strengthening our technology landscape, and in fostering economic growth and diversification. They help in bringing the necessary resources, expertise, and innovation to propel the Kingdom forward on its path to a diversified, knowledge-based economy, and advance its position as an innovation hub.”

Smooth transition into diverse digital economy

Furthermore, Guy Diedrich, senior vice president, and Global Innovation officer at Cisco noted: “Our CDA program and Cisco Networking Academy are powerful platforms that drive co-innovation, unlock co-investment, and train the workforce of the future. As we enter the next chapter of our commitments in Saudi Arabia, we look forward to once again, lend our expertise, resources, and global network, to help the Kingdom’s transition into a vibrant, diverse digital economy.” 

In August 2023, Cisco was granted the Regional Headquarter license by the Ministry of Investment, enabling it to support operations in the MENA region. The establishment of the new office in Riyadh expands Cisco’s footprint in Saudi Arabia and reflects its commitment to driving the country’s digital transformation. Since its entry into the Saudi Arabian market in 1997, Cisco has been at the forefront of introducing technological innovations to the Kingdom. The company has collaborated with customers and partners on various national projects while also investing in talent development.

LEAP 2024 Cisco
Cisco Executives; Left – Guy Diedrich, Center – Reem Asaad, Right – Salman Faqeeh. (Supplied)

Cisco is bolstering investments in Saudi Arabia

For her part, Reem Asaad, vice president for Cisco Middle East, Türkiye, Africa, Romania, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), commented: “Cisco’s ongoing investments in Saudi Arabia’s growing digital economy contribute to the rapid integration of technology across all sectors to drive innovation, enhance efficiency, and foster economic growth. We’re excited to continue our pivotal role in supporting the country’s vision to accelerate a digital, sustainable, and inclusive future.”

Launching new phase of the CDA program

Furthermore, Cisco announced its continued collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology through a new phase of the Country Digital Acceleration program. This third iteration of the program aligns with the objectives of the Saudi Research and Development National Strategy, with a focus on Health and Wellness, Sustainable Environment & Affordable Supply of Essential Needs, Energy and Industrial Leadership, and Economies of the Future.

The CDA program was initially launched in Saudi Arabia in 2016 and has played a crucial role in driving digitization efforts across key industries. It has supported the development of digital skills and the innovation ecosystem in the country. To date, the program has successfully implemented over 20 projects with national significance in sectors such as healthcare, education, smart cities, and government digitization. Notably, collaborations with institutions like King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence (SDAIA), and Vision 2030 Giga Projects have been instrumental in realizing these projects.

Moreover, Cisco continues to prioritize the development of digital skills by leveraging its Cisco Networking Academy, a long-standing program that bridges the gap between IT skills and employment opportunities. In Saudi Arabia, Cisco has trained over 335,000 learners in networking, cybersecurity, programming, and other digital technology skills through this program.

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