IBM research lab to spur innovation in Kenya

COMPUTING

|
Image: IBM business consultant Shadrack Kioko captures data on road conditions and traffic congestion in Nairobi. By IBM
IBM business consultant Shadrack Kioko captures data on road conditions and traffic congestion in Nairobi

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

The Kenyan Government on Monday opened the first IBM research lab in Africa.

It is projected that the lab will not only drive innovation but help market Kenya as a leading modern services economy.

The research agenda will be defined by IBM and Kenya government and will have a strong emphasis on solving home-based and African problems.

The research facility is expected to be operational this September and will have its base in Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi.

Africa will host the 12th laboratory in the world-wide IBM network of labs, joining existing labs in Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, India, Ireland, Israel, Switzerland and the United States, as IBM continues to expand its research operations in key growth markets.

The lab, a collaboration between Kenya and IBM East Africa, will see the partners each contribute USD10 million dollars (Ksh830 million), over a period of five years.

Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications through the Kenya ICT board will implement the project, which will see Kenyans also gain in knowledge diffusion.

Speaking on the partnership, PS, Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo said: "In today’s world, innovation is the main lever for a competitive national economy, is a source of employment, and has the potential to improve lives. The IBM research lab, will not only rubber stamp Kenya as Africa’s leader in ICT, but will help the country to transform into a knowledge based economy.”  

Dr. Ndemo was speaking at a press briefing held at Kenya ICT Board offices, attended by Paul Kukubo, CEO, Kenya ICT Board, Robert Morris, Vice President, Services Research IBM, Michael Browne, IBM Research, Director of Technical Strategy, Kumar Bhaskaran and Program Director Technology & Strategy at IBM Research, Shanghai, China.

Others were Mugo Kibati, Director General Vision 2030, Josphat Karanja, Head of Infrastructure, Kenya Education Network (KENET), Takreem El-Tohamy, IBM General Manager, Middle East and Africa and Tony Mwai, Country General Manager for IBM East Africa.

Earlier Monday, President Mwai Kibaki and IBM Global Chief Executive Officer, Ginni Rometty signed a memorandum of understanding to officially flag-off the setting up of the lab.  

“Kenya vision is to become the top ICT hub in the continent.  IBM’s commitment to undertake the proposed research agenda will contribute greatly to our national priorities as part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 agenda,” said President Kibaki. “We look forward to delivering world-class research and innovation through the partnership and playing an important role as an IT leader on the African continent.”

President Kibaki said the project will greatly benefit the momentum already established in cutting-edge mobile money technology, contribute to the creation of high-value jobs, and bring significant prestige for Kenya.

“IBM continues to expand its operations in key growth markets and we plan to lead the way by bringing Africa into our global network of IBM Research laboratories,” said Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM senior vice president and director of IBM Research. “We will work closely with leading African scientists and engineers from academia, government and industry to address some of their most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities.”

The research lab is timely coming on the heels of Konza Techno City Conference in which the country rallied to attract investors into the silicon park that will drive Kenya towards achieving middle-income status.

Under the partnership, Kenya will provide the necessary environment, the physical space, facilitate the lab setting up, while IBM will provide senior specialists, intellectual property and will operate the Lab as part of its world-class network of global research labs. Both partners are also expected to oversee governance structures at the facility jointly.

“The Kenya ICT Board has various projects that will compliment the work of the IBM lab. These are in software certification, open data, enterprise incubation and support for public sector digitisation,” said Paul Kukubo, the CEO of Kenya ICT Board. “We see IBM as a great partner in advancing the agenda the board’s transformation of Kenya,” he added. 



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE COMPUTING NEWS

One Channel Botswana acquires top technical skills

As part of its future growth strategy, One Channel Botswana has announced that it is acquiring top industry skills.  Read More

Cloud - the perfect weapon for SMEs

Cloud Computing gives smaller companies unprecedented access to enterprise-grade software and infrastructure services – allowing them to grow rapidly and compete with larger, more established competitors, says T-Systems. Read More

AfDB, MasterCard to expand financial inclusion in Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and MasterCard have announced a broad collaboration that aims to expand financial inclusion across the African continent by broadening access and usage of digital financial services. Read More

Partnership expands ICT support for Ebola fight in West Africa

Collaboration among NetHope, Facebook, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cisco, EveryLayer and Inveneo will provide sustainable Internet connectivity solutions to support frontline response efforts and long-term recovery in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Read More

IT hiccups put Botswana varsity in disarray

Botswana’s biggest university, the University of Botswana (UB) has been hamstrung by an IT problem that threatens to throw the institution into disarray. Read More

Soronko Solutions takes Tech Needs Girls programme to deprived regions in Ghana

Over 300 girls in the Upper West region of Ghana will be receiving hands-on education on ICT, thanks to the Soronko Solutions Road show known as the Tech Needs Girls programme.  Read More

Mascom to hand over Kitsong centres

As has become tradition, this year, Mascom will hand over ten Business Communication Centres, popularly known as Kitsong Centres. Read More

Hot five tech trends for 2015

In2IT Technologies South Africa predicts this year’s top five tech trends. Read More

Human interface services revenue to break billion dollar barrier within 5 years

Juniper Research says that by 2019 the global market for services based on gesture and biometric interface technologies will be worth an estimated $1.2 billion. Read More

Pandora’s set-top-box

Controlling and facilitating access to the vast amount of content available on the internet and on our TVs, smart phones and myriad of other connected devices in the home today is no easy task, says Pace.  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

UCC launches 2015 ACIA awardsUCC launches 2015 ACIA awards

Uganda has launched the fifth Annual Communications and Innovation Awards, which celebrate and foster ICT innovation and achievement.

IN DEPTH

Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up

Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.

COMPANY NEWS

VMware reports fourth quarter and full year 2014 results

VMware, the global leader in virtualisation and cloud infrastructure, has announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2014.

MTN to empower African businesses with AWS Direct Connect

MTN Group today announced it would be the first African company to offer Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect to business customers across multiple countries on the ...

“All Systems GO!” for the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards in Zambia

It’s “All Systems GO!” for the winners of the fourth edition of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards to be announced at the awards ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia ...