Monday, August 13, 2012

Kibaki to sign a partnership deal with IBM

By Fredrick Obura

President Mwai Kibaki and IBM Global Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty will sign an MOU to officially establish a research lab in Nairobi, on Monday.
The lab, which is the first of its kind in Africa, will assist in applied Information Technology research focused on solving problems related to the continent’s agriculture, traffic congestion and automating governance.
 “IBM Research works to find new ways to solve the most complex problems facing the world at present – working on projects that leverage cutting edge technology to help resolve the world’s challenges,” said a communication from IBM Communication Office.
In an earlier interview with tech insight at IBM gathering in Las Vegas US, Steve Mills, the IBM Software Group Vice President said plans were already complete and Nairobi will receive state of the art lab before end of this year to support its rapidly growing software industry.
“We have an elaborate strategy for Africa during this year; it includes increasing our investments in the region. We are coming up with the research lab in Nairobi to take care of software development which is also an area IBM is looking for its growth,” he said.
“There is a lot of investment going on in Kenya in terms of IT, followed by interest from its government and the young generation. It is part of our strategy to nurture these through a research and development centre,” he added.
Mills who noted business potential in mobile devices said IBM was ready to acquire companies successful in building great software for the devices to improve cities across the world.
“Mobility is the new area of growth to IBM, our plan is not to compete directly with software companies building solutions to mobile phones or i-pads and etc but to look at various ways through which we can work together,” he said at the 2012 IBM pulse concert in Las Vegas.
Visiting Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop also said Nokia will putting up a research centre in Nairobi to support local developers and applications running on its devices.
“From the various conversations I have had with different stakeholders, it is clear that Kenya is full of opportunities and we will not ignore the market,” said Elop
“All across Africa, people are discovering that there’s an economy to be built. If business leaders jump in, there’s a glorious future for Africa,” he said.
 “We are going to increase our investment by 25 per cent and hope to work with developers in building applications that have greater impact to the majority.
The IBM team also recommended that the city leverage Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies to effectively map and monitor Accra’s rapid urban growth in real time.
 A GIS system would enable authorities to register the growing number of properties and businesses in the city, and provide the basis for an integrated finance-management and analysis system that would enhance revenue generation and service delivery.
Nairobi was one of 32 cities worldwide who each received grants worth an estimated $400,000 in the second round of IBM’s annual Smarter Cities Challenge initiative, joining Accra, Ghana, Rabat, Morocco and Tshwane, South Africa selected for the programme in this year.
Source: Standard © 

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