IBM Research Expands Into South Africa

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-02-06 Print this article Print
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IBM's South Africa-based researchers will explore new approaches using big data analytics and cognitive computing to address health care issues in resource-constrained environments in South Africa and across the African continent. IBM Research is already engaged with the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) to research new treatment approaches to fight tuberculosis. The research, which uses big data technologies in bacterial genetics and drug susceptibility tests, is helping to increase understanding of the genomic mechanisms that cause resistance to antibiotics.

IBM said its new researchers will also contribute to the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope project, where scientists from South Africa will work with those from ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and IBM Research-Zurich to collect and analyze big data from deep space that contains information dating back to the Big Bang more than 13 billion years ago.

Meanwhile, the IBM Middle East and Africa Digital Sales Center in Cairo represents a $3 million investment by IBM. It is part of a broader three-year agreement with the Egyptian government in which IBM will create jobs and work with clients to transform their organizations using cloud, big data and analytics, mobile and social technologies.

The new Cairo center is part of a collaboration agreement between IBM and the Egyptian Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA). In addition to new roles at the digital sales center, IBM plans to hire more than 800 people across its network of delivery centers in the country over the next three years. A specialized IT sales force will provide services to IBM clients in Arabic, English, French and Portuguese.

"This announcement with IBM reflects the powerful mix of competitive advantages that Egypt is offering to the world," said Hussein El Gueretly, CEO of Egypt's ITIDA, in a statement. "Egypt is well known for its low-cost, skilled talent pool, famous for its accent-free multi-lingual capabilities, as well as its strong technical competencies. We are fortunate to have over 35 universities and 100 institutes that graduate over 450,000 thousand students annually."

Last year, IBM and ITIDA embarked on a project to provide cloud computing expertise to 100 Egyptian software companies to help drive innovation and new cloud development skills in the country. The goal is to boost Egypt's efforts to become a center of cloud computing excellence in the region.


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