By Mark Sutton
Cisco to invest venture capital in Palestinian businesses, increase access to ICT training
Cisco has announced that it will invest $10 million in economic development in Palestine.
The company plans to make a three-year investment that will focus on providing venture capital for emerging small businesses in Palestine and expanding ICT training programs.
Fadi Moubarak, general manger for Cisco Levant said that full details of the program were still being decided, although Cisco would look at working with government agencies, NGOs and other private sector companies to find the best way to manage the investment. No decision has been made on which sectors the fund will focus at present.
The investment has the support of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.
"One of our key priorities is to build a market economy in close cooperation with the private sector," he said. "We commend Cisco for its commitment to helping us accomplish this goal, and look forward to working together toward enhancing the social, economic and education opportunities for the people of Palestine. This contribution, we hope, will help prosperity and peace in the region."
The investment will initially be managed through Cisco business development management, as part of Cisco's CSR program.
Efforts to deliver ICT training would most likely be focused on Cisco's Networking Academy program, which provides professional level networking training, usually in association with universities, Moubarak said.
"Networking Academies have been the main vehicle for delivering [training], unless we find other specific needs that require fulfilment by other means. Networking Academies has been a very successful program worldwide," he said.
Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers commented on the deal: "Education and the Internet are the great equalizers and vital to a sustainable, productive economy that increases the standard of living for all. It's a core part of our culture to give back, but it's also a core strategy of what drives our success in the regions of the world where we do business. We make all our business decisions with three-to-five years in mind and given our strong business momentum in the region, it's only appropriate to make this investment into its economy and its people."