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Cisco Systems executives will undertake a tour of five major African countries in March to provide its African business partners and customers with information on advanced networking technologies and how the technology can be used to assist companies across the region. Under the banner of the Cisco Innovation Tour, the series of events will see Cisco executives hold seminars in Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia."These events will address a broader audience comprising both existing Cisco resellers and potential prospects. Existing and potential resellers and end-users will get an in-depth update on how advanced networking technologies work together to create solutions for our customers," says Anthony Vonsée, Cisco Systems general manager for sub-Saharan Africa.The Cisco Innovation Tour debuts in Dakar , Senegal on 14 March and then moves to Lagos, Nigeria on 16 March, Accra, Ghana on 18 March, Lusaka , Zambia on 21 March, and finally Nairobi, Kenya on 23 March.Each of these events will feature a full day seminar, covering topics ranging from Intelligent Information Network (IIN), broadband (metro, optical and storage), Integrated Services Routers (ISR), security, IP communications, and promotions and certifications within the channel.Vonsée says he is particularly upbeat about the opportunities for Cisco partners in Africa today because of the increasingly positive political and economic climates across the region. "The opportunity to upgrade current infrastructures to next generation networks (NGN) and the fact that our channel partners have the right solutions to do this, puts them in a strong position. As more and more businesses and governments alike begin to recognise the immense benefits in deploying cutting-edge networking solutions, we expect our channel to realise the enormous business potential.""The key to success though resides with proper training and familiarity with the latest networking technologies - be it the convergence of voice, video and data, IP communications including IP telephony or any of the other solutions which are available to the channel today," says Vonsée.There are also huge opportunities for Cisco partners as a result of looming deregulation of telecommunications markets across Africa, the forthcoming consolidation in financial services markets, the advent of telemedicine, distance learning and IP satellite technologies. All of these new dynamics will present untapped opportunities for Cisco partners at all stages of the channel."Our partners understand the dynamics and the unique characteristics of their respective local markets. They are also the point at which Cisco and its customers meet. So it is incumbent on both of us that we maintain an environment in which customers can continue to benefit from the latest technologies through the best training, advice, delivery and implementation of solutions that will help them gain business advantages," says Vonsée.