IBM says it will double down on its investment in Africa, including sending twice as many up-and-coming IBM leaders to Africa via the company's Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program.
NEW YORK-Having earlier pledged to increase its focus on the
continent of Africa, IBM announced that it will double the number of
emerging leaders it sends on pro-bono assignments to Africa during the
next three years.
At its THINK Forum here, known as THINK: A Forum on the Future of Leadership
IBM said as part of the company's Corporate Service Corps (CSC)
program, aimed at developing IBM leaders and providing skilled
assistance to local governments and non-government organizations in
emerging markets, IBM will send about 600 employees to Africa through
2015. The THINK Forum is an IBM conference to mark the company's
Centennial that convenes more than 700 emerging leaders from
government, business, academia and science from around the globe, and
examines how models of leadership in business, technology and society
must evolve to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
In a meeting with the press on the news, Stanley Litow, IBM vice
president of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and president
of the IBM Foundation, said IBM has sent more than 1,200 IBMers through
the CSC program and about 300 have gone to Africa. But IBM will double
that to 600 over the next three to four years as the company reinforces
its commitment to doing business in Africa, he said.
"The world is discovering Africa's potential, and IBM is uniquely
poised to help the region meet its growing demands. IBM's Corporate
Service Corps program helps lay the groundwork with communities by
strengthening relationships with government officials and local
partners, while providing IBM employees with a unique leadership
development experience," said Bruno Di Leo, general manager of IBM's
Growth Markets Unit, in a statement. "As IBM targets more growth
and emerging markets, leadership programs such as the Corporate Service
Corps are vital to help train our employees on growth market
environments and development opportunities."
As part of IBM's Africa commitment, a team from IBM will work on a
global health project, the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative, which is
aimed at reducing cervical cancer deaths in Africa and Latin
America, IBM said. The Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative is a
cause championed by the George W. Bush Institute
and its partners - the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
(PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and UNAIDS, IBM
said. The IBM team will create a business plan for the
technology that enables the participating organizations to achieve
shared objectives such as treating and preventing cervical cancer and
raising breast cancer awareness.
Litow said the increased CSC efforts in Africa will give IBM "an
expanded understanding about the big geographies in Africa." Moreover,
"This model is the leadership development model for the 21st
century" at IBM he said. "This gives IBM a way to understand Africa like no other company can."
IBM has installed Mark Dean, an African-American engineer, IBM
Fellow and company vice president, to oversee the company's push into
Africa as the chief technology officer for IBM Middle East and Africa.
Dean, who holds more than 20 patents - some of which are for the IBM PC
- is based in Dubai.