Cisco Strengthens Presence in Nigeria, West Africa

Briefly, back on 27 April 2006, AllAfrica (link to LexisNexis password required) reported that Cisco was expanding into Nigeria. Formerly working the market from South Africa, its official debut includes opening a local office to "build a strong depth of technical skills in the market to serve the region".

Cisco Systems…is attempting to strengthen its presence in Nigeria and English West Africa with its launch of the Cisco Systems brand in Nigeria…

Cisco is a well known brand, but before now, operated in Nigeria, via its offices in South Africa. Cisco’s formal entry into Nigeria, said Emelife is to enable the company better support its long list of corporate customers as well as small and medium enterprises who use one form of Cisco router, switch or security solution, or another. "Our entry into Nigeria is also to enable Cisco to better penetrate the West African market as well as enable us build a stronger depth of technical skills in the market to serve the region".

The move to Nigeria, Emelife stated, "is timely as Nigerian telecom service providers continue to grow their voice services and begin to enter into mainstream data services. Cisco is the worldwide leader in building next generation networks, and so is positioning to help drive the build-out of this breed of networks in Nigeria."…

Emelife added that corporate social responsibility is core to the Cisco organization. "Our focus is three fold: providing basic human needs, enhancing access to education and responsible citizenship".

To help enhance access to education and professional opportunities across the world, the company has founded the Cisco Networking Academy Program. This program is dedicated to providing students with the education and resources they need to design, build and maintain computer networks. The Cisco Networking Academy, said Emelife, has 1,320 students in 22 academies around Nigeria. This number, he added, will grow into the future….

To celebrate the occasion of the launch of Cisco Nigeria, the company hosted over 200 guests to a banquet at Eko Hotel. Guests included the US Ambassador to Nigeria, represented by Brian Browne the Consul General, the Minister of Communications and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission. Also present was a large team of senior Cisco executives including Cisco’s Vice President for Middle East and Africa, Mark De Simone and its Managing Director for Africa, Anthony Vonsee.

Nigerian Saying: “The chicken that is searching for food in the rain must be very hungry”

"The chicken that is searching for food in the rain must be very hungry" is a Nigerian proverb the Chinese hope won’t become their fortune. China is not yet hungry but it is looking to get in front of the rain that is sure to come in the form of a Western rush. The Chinese footprint in Nigeria is expanding quicker than most would think or admit. While oil and other natural resources are essential to Western economies, there is more to Nigeria and the region. There are other business opportunities the West in general, except for French Alcatel’s lucrative partnership with China, are missing out on.

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Lucent Talks Raise Issue of Security (Updated)

The way the Lucent (NYSE:LUnews) buyout by Alcatel (ALA) (NYSE: ALANews; Paris: CGEP.PANews) plays out will be telling. Without an Arab company involved, it will surely not raise to the level of "sophisticated" political discourse that we saw with the "Dubai Ports" deal. The reality is this deal should raise greater concerns (especially since the port deal was a red herring), which I doubt it will.

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African oil is an American security challenge

News brief from David Wood at Newhouse News Service. David writes about the Gulf of Guinea security problem, which is becoming appearing in the headlines more often these days.

The United States is becoming increasingly dependent on oil from a region beset by official corruption, tottering governments, violent criminal syndicates and religious and ethnic strife: West Africa….

"We can’t afford to have a ship there 365 days a year," said Rear Adm. D.C. Curtis of the U.S. 6th Fleet, which oversees naval responsibilities in Europe and Africa from its headquarters in Naples, Italy. "The days of getting an aircraft carrier off the coast are gone."

That leaves most security in the hands of local forces clearly not up to the job. U.S. officials said thieves each year steal at least $1 billion worth of oil from Nigeria’s coastal pipelines; perhaps twice that much is siphoned off by official government corruption.

In one recent case, two Nigerian admirals — since fired — arranged for the hijacking of the African Pride, a rust-streaked, Greek-registered coastal tanker laden with 11,000 tons of Nigerian crude worth some $4 million. The ship was seized by the Nigerian navy on suspicion that its cargo had been stolen. But the navy escorted the African Pride to sea, where its cargo was pumped to another tanker, which disappeared.