• IBM to invest in research laboratory in Kenya

IT Solutions

IBM to invest in research laboratory in Kenya

Aug 15 2012

US technology giant IBM has announced it is planning to establish a research laboratory in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

The move will help the nation to achieve the government's aim of becoming the continents information technology hub.

IBM is forming a partnership with the Kenyan government's ICT Board on the project, which will see each organisation contribute $10 million (£6.4 million) of funding over the next five years to establish the research laboratory in the capital city's Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

While the Kenyan government will cover the overheads and local research staff costs associated with the project, the US firm will provide the technology, senior scientists to work in the new research facility and access to intellectual property for the project.

A memorandum of understanding between the two organisations was signed in Nairobi by IBM's global chief executive Ginni Rometty and Kenya's president Mwai Kibaki, with work expected to start in September.

Mr Kibaki claimed that the partnership with the US company will make the nation an "IT leader on the African continent".

The Kenyan government's ICT Masterplan, which was announced in April, created a host of targets, which include adding 50,000 new jobs and 500 new companies in IT development by 2017, while connecting all citizens to the ICT network.

Mr Kibaki's government has said the new deal with IBM will be a key contributor to it achieving its ICT and further economic goals in the future.

The lab will help develop new 'egovernment' technologies, and improve access to the regional IT talent pool, according to the company, which began work in the nation in 1958.

Initially it installed equipment for the oil industry, but the new research laboratory project indicates it believes Kenya will become a major player in the industry in terms of manufacturing and expertise, rather than just being a market for products.

The new project is the latest in a long line of IBM run research facilities around the world, as the company currently operates 11 laboratories around the globe with an annual research budget of $6.5 billion.

Posted by Neil Clark

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