MANAMA, BAHRAIN--(Marketwire - September 16, 2008) - Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced today that it will be working closely with the government of Bahrain to define strategic information and communications technology (ICT) initiatives that will help advance the Kingdom of Bahrain's global competitiveness and network readiness. The announcement followed a meeting held between His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Bin Atiyat Allah Al Khalifa, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, and Paul Mountford, president of Cisco in emerging markets.

As part of Cisco's ongoing commitment to the region, the company will establish an Internet data center based in Bahrain which will serve as a regional hub for Cisco's ICT services. The hub will support the delivery of multiple services and technologies including Cisco TelePresence and Cisco's Unified Communications solutions to company offices in the region.

Cisco also announced today that it plans to establish an office in the kingdom and will focus on recruiting new talent to address the growing local and regional opportunity. The proximity of Cisco's new office to its customers and partners in Bahrain will create working synergies that will help provide immediate support to the growing customer base in the region.

"These initiatives will strengthen our cooperation with global technology providers through a stronger local presence to grow the ICT industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain and will help pave the way to attract direct foreign investments, a long-standing strategic objective of the government," said H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Atiyat Allah Al Khalifa. "Such cooperation between the government of Bahrain and Cisco is essential to building the necessary capacity in the kingdom's ICT market and facilitating the modernization of government operations to enhance government services."

Paul Mountford praised the government's efforts in developing and liberalizing the telecommunications sector, which is considered one of the most advanced in the gulf region. He commented: "Bahrain's progressive regulatory environment has fuelled the growth of vital economic sectors, including telecoms, banking and financial services and construction. Cisco is building on this platform by establishing a strong local presence to work closely with government leaders to strengthen the country's competitive position in the global economy and ensure its success going forward."

Cisco also discussed the importance of building ICT capabilities through launching education initiatives and further accelerating the deployment of Cisco Networking Academy® sites across the kingdom. Presently, Cisco has ten networking academies in Bahrain with 350 active students.

Mohammed Al-Qaed, the CEO of eGovernment Authority, said, "Our agreement works first and foremost to serve society at large and the Bahraini people. The agreement comes as part of the strategic framework that eGovernment Authority has created to expand its operations and enter into long-term strategic partnerships. This will help fulfill its overall aim to improve the eGovernment services and reach to its customers. In addition, it will have a positive impact on the improved services the eGovernment is offering citizens, residents, businesses and visitors as part of the eGovernment Strategy implementation toward the end of year 2010."

In a series of upcoming workshops, Cisco will collaborate with the Bahraini eGovernment Authority to provide its perspective on the various facets of e-government that have the potential to help the country use ICT to provide enhanced public services to citizens. The workshops will highlight the role ICT can play in the overall education reform, the national health agenda, human capital development, public safety and security.

Tarek Ghoul, general manager, Gulf North for Cisco said: "This is a significant milestone for Cisco in the gulf region and demonstrates our continued efforts in helping government leaders define the ICT blueprints for their countries. Cisco has been working closely with governments across the Middle East to link ICT to the country's social and economic agenda, which will help enable governments to react quickly to market conditions and increase their productivity and economic advantage."

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