IBM Continues to Expand Its Operations in Growth Markets

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-08-20 Print this article Print


Key research areas that will be explored by IBM Research-Africa include next-generation public sector services, Smarter Cities research with a focus on water and transportation, and human capacity development to help boost the level of scientific and technical skills in Kenya and Africa overall.

IBM will use its big data solutions, advanced analytics, and cloud technologies to help government organizations draw insights and benefit from the vast amounts of data held by government agencies. This can help advance e-government capabilities such as helping to reduce the cost of social services, improving efficiency and productivity, deterring fraud and abuse, improving citizen access to services, and enabling digital interaction between citizens and the public sector, IBM said.

"IBM continues to expand its operations in key growth markets and we plan to lead the way by bringing Africa into our global network of IBM Research laboratories," said John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research, in a statement. "We plan to work closely with leading African scientists and engineers from academia, government and industry to address some of their most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities."

Operations at IBM Research-Africa will commence immediately. Expansion into other parts of Africa may be considered in a second phase, IBM said.

The new lab will establish a Resident Scientist Program, an international recruitment program to reach Kenyan and other African applicants. The program will aim to attract top R&D talent to work side-by-side with IBM researchers in the lab. The Resident Scientist candidates will be pre- and post-doctoral researchers, including scientists and researchers from academia, government and industry. The Resident Scientists will begin with a one-year tenure with options for this to be extended. Resident Scientists will be integrated into the IBM Research-Africa lab as well as IBM's global network of labs. Each Resident Scientist can collaborate with IBM researchers throughout IBM's global network of laboratories as they carry out their research.

"In today's world, innovation is the main lever for a competitive national economy, is a source of employment, and has the potential to improve lives," said Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary for Kenya's Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, in a statement. "The IBM research lab, will not only rubber-stamp Kenya as Africa's leader in ICT, but will help the country to transform into a knowledge-based economy."

IBM is making a significant investment in Africa and is ramping up its profile on the continent as part of its focus on emerging markets. The expansion program is part of a major business plan to increase IBM's presence in growth markets and support global strategy. The company is present in more than 20 African countries and recognizes the huge potential of research and smarter systems in transforming business, government and society across the continent.

"IBM has had a presence in Africa for more than 60 years, and we are now taking our presence to a new level," said Anthony Mwai, IBM's country general manager for East Africa, in a statement. "As we build a great workforce in Africa that is aligned with national goals and help governments and industries envision and build Africa's future, we are establishing a foundation for IBM's long-term success."

IBM Research-Africa will join existing labs in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and the United States.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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