IBM is accelerating its commitment to Africa and helping both businesses and governments on the continent to leapfrog the innovation divide. Earlier this year, the company announced a $100 million investment to bring Watson and other cognitive systems to Africa to fuel development across the continent in an ambitious 10 year project.
IBM has a long history in Africa and is taking its role as a technology leader seriously, helping to boost the capacities of Africa’s people and institutions – including skills, technology infrastructure, governance and basic science and research. IBM believes Africa is a substantial market for IBM products and services, and an important source of employment talent.
In 2013, IBM opened the doors of its first African Research Laboratory, the 12th globally and part of IBM’s $6 billion annual spend on research alone. The facility is conducting research into the grand challenges of the African continent, drawing insight from vast amounts of data to find solutions to Africa’s most pressing challenges such as energy, water, transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
In the past 5 years alone, the company has set up offices in Angola, Mauritius, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. That’s in addition to the 17 countries being served as part of a contract to provide one of the continent’s telecommunications leaders with information technology services to run its widespread mobile phone operations.
IBM supports hundreds of clients across the continent, from helping bank the unbanked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to leading edge mobile banking across East and West Africa, including a cloud solution for West African service provider Surfline Communications to expand mobile data services. In South Africa, IBM is helping a major insurer use predictive analytics to halt fraudulent insurance claims and also working with a key research institute on new treatments for Tuberculosis.