IBM (International Business Machines) has recognized Kenya as an outstanding venue for technology advancement by opening its newest research center in the country’s capital, Nairobi. Kenya has been a hotbed of technological growth. The Kenyan IT sector is expanding rapidly and young entrepreneurs are bringing innovations to market monthly. IBM’s decision is sure to draw more investment attention to Kenya.
IBM and Kenya Government Partner
IBM and the Kenyan government, who is paying for utilities and maintenance for the lab, are banking on the research lab saving the country billions of dollars through innovative technology to upgrade the delivery of public services.
Assisting Kenyan IT Sector Students
The research lab will host university resident programs for Kenyan and other east African schools. “Top-tier scientists and researchers from pre- and post-doctoral backgrounds, as well as from academia, government or industry,” say IBM officials. The lab resident experience will “help universities produce highly qualified and technically skilled graduates.” This almost guarantee the Kenyan IT sector increased attention in the world press and pull in new investors.
Working with Kenyan Entrepreneurs
Some great news is that the lab will be concentrating on innovation and work very closely with young Kenyan entrepreneurs. Mark Harris, IBM’s VP of Business Development said that Kenya was chosen as the site for IBM’s 12th research lab location in the world because of the innovation already coming out of the country’s technology sector.
One project that IBM says the lab will initially delve into is remedies for traffic congestion in African cities. CCTV and predictive analytic tools will be employed.
Africa is a Growing IT Market
IBM executives are confident that Africa is a growing market for technology that will grow more rapidly than their other world markets. They buy into projections that put the African IT market at near $20 billion in 2012 and that it is one of the fastest growing markets for technology services and products in the world.
Six years ago, IBM had an African presence only in South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. Today, the company has on-site operations in more than 20 African countries.
If a major world player like IBM is making increasingly larger investments in Africa, you can bet others will follow.