News Release

Cisco Pledges $1 Million Investment for ICT Related Micro- Credit Financing in Developing Countries

Cisco Supports the "ICT Empowerment Network" with Grameen Bank and International Telecommunication Union
Dec 03, 2006

ITU TELECOM WORLD 06, HONG KONG - December 3, 2006 - Cisco® today announced that it will pledge one million dollars to support ICT related micro-financing initiatives within the global ICT Empowerment Network, a new collaborative micro-credit financing program launched today by Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Prize Laureate and managing director of Grameen Bank, in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ICT Empowerment Network is a virtual network of organizations working together to help the underprivileged earn sustainable incomes.

Through its network of ITU-Cisco supported Internet Training Centres, Cisco will work with the ITU and Grameen Bank to provide eligible students micro-credit loans to undertake their information and communications technology (ICT) education. In addition, Cisco will work with ITU and Grameen Bank to help eligible graduates of ITU Internet Training Centres receive entrepreneurial business training and/or mentoring as well as micro-credit start up capital to launch their own ICT related businesses.

Nobel Peace Laureate & managing director of Grameen Bank, Professor Muhammad Yunus, takes questions from the floor at a press conference at ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006

At a press conference at ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006, (seated left to right) Dominic Vergine, Chief Executive, Enclusion; Shawn Covell, senior Director, International Govt Affairs at Qualcomm; Tae Yoo, VP of Corporate Affairs, Cisco Systems; Nobel Peace Laureate & managing director of Grameen Bank, Professor Muhammad Yunus; and Francine Lambert, Head of Corporate Communication, ITU.

"I am very excited at the level of commitment and support from ITU Connect the World partners, like Cisco, who can translate creative ideas into action to make a difference in the developing world," Yunus said. "The ongoing success of the ITU-Cisco Internet Training Initiative worldwide demonstrates what can be accomplished through effective public and private sector collaboration for sustainable development."

In 2002, Cisco and the ITU launched the Internet Training Center Initiative for Developing Countries with the goal of setting up 50 centres around the world by 2003. The effort has led today to the establishment of 66 such ITU-sponsored centres in 56 countries, including 20 least- developed countries. ITU-Cisco Internet Training Centers leverage the comprehensive curriculum created by the Cisco Networking Academy Program, which will celebrate 10-years of ICT education in 2007. There are Cisco Networking Academies in roughly 165 countries worldwide serving half a million students annually.

"Education and enhanced ICT skills have proven to expand communities, so increasing access to ICT education in the developing world through micro-credit financing is a great idea," said, Mr Yoshio Utsumi, secretary-general of the ITU. "The continued growth of Internet Protocol networking in the developing countries, especially through active support from government and private sector leaders, will yield tangible benefits for the global economy as a whole."

"The ITU continues to be a leader in ICT development programs and partnerships worldwide that help narrow the digital divide," said Tae Yoo, Cisco vice president of corporate affairs and executive lead for corporate social responsibility. "This opportunity for Cisco to provide a replicable and sustainable platform for people to enter the ICT world through education and entrepreneurial pursuits is a great example of the impact that effective public and private partnerships can have in the developing world."

The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway can be viewed live at on Sunday, December 10, 1 pm Oslo time ( in US 7 am EST, 6 am CST, 5 am MST, 4 am Pacific Standard Time).