Cisco this week said it would invest close to $550 million (£346 million) in Brazil to expand its presence in the country and spur economic growth.

The investment represents 1 billion Brazilian reals over the next four years. The monies will be spread among the opening of a Cisco centre of innovation in Rio de Janeiro, an investment in a Brazil-focused information and communications technology and digital economy venture capital funding, the expansion of local manufacturing and joint development with Brazilian companies.

Cisco says it expects these investments to generate about 800 jobs in Brazil and encourage entrepreneurship. Cisco Brazil has been growing consistently above 20% annually in recent years, the company says.

The Center of Innovation in Rio de Janeiro will develop new technology tailored for Brazil's needs, such as urban development, sports and entertainment, public safety and security, education and healthcare. Cisco expects to open the centre in the second half of 2012, and additional projects addressing oil, gas and utilities will be added in 2013.

The urban development projects will be aligned with Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities initiative to sell technology to modernise the government's information infrastructure and reduce operational cost.

Cisco said it is also looking to create a venture capital fund to invest in new Brazilian technology companies and entrepreneurial activities. Cisco said it will invest up to 50 million reals to be combined with local investors partnering with the fund.

The company will also expand its year-old manufacturing operations in Brazil. Currently, the plant in Manaus makes set-top boxes but Cisco will expand that to include routing and switching products.

Partnerships include an intellectual property swap with Intelbras involving Cisco's Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000 and Intelbras' 10,000 resellers. Another is a workforce transformation arrangement with Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Comercial for 1,000 Rio students interested in a career in networking.