IBM research lab to spur innovation in Kenya
COMPUTING| Aug. 13, 2012, 6:03 p.m.
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.
MORE COMPUTING NEWS
VMware unveils vCloud for NFV with Integrated OpenStack to accelerate service innovationVMware, the global leader in virtualisation and cloud infrastructure, today debuted VMware vCloud for NFV, an integrated Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) platform that will combine VMware’s production-proven virtualised compute, networking, storage and management solutions with integrated OpenStack support. Read More
Continual service improvement: key to tackling top ITSM challengesA lack of understanding of ITSM and its impact on business hindered its effectiveness in 2014, says Marval Africa. Read More
Advanced analytics and telecoms – a power combinationTelecommunications and advanced analytics are a symbiotic duo that can help fast track African development and revolutionise business, says LGR Telecommunications. Read More
Cameroon college gets affordable, quality Keepod devicesTeaching and learning have since dramatically changed and improved at the College Socka Bongue in Cameroon thanks to the supply by Keepod of 650 computing devices and 26 laptops, with each device costing as little as US$7. Read More
Elephant census not ready for drone technologyElephants Without Borders, a Botswana conservation project which is bankrolled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, has shelved the use of drone technology during future elephant census expeditions. Read More
Indigenous technical skills critical to growth, says Skysat chiefSkysat Technologies Limited CEO Izzat Debs says the conscious development of indigenous technical skills in Nigeria remains one of the ways of developing the ICT sector of the country to make it grow the nation’s GDP. Read More
Products and services to go on show at WATSE 2015Telecoms operators, smartphone companies, ICT service companies and other allied companies will showcase their products and services at this year’s West Africa Telecom Summit and Expo (WATSE 2015), to be held on 21 – 22 May at Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra. Read More
Silicon Congo project to boost ICT entrepreneurshipICT entrepreneurs in Congo Brazzaville have been given a platform to take off, grow and prosper by Silicon Congo, a new project launched early this week in the capital Brazzaville by the BantuHub Foundation. Read More
Cisco opens 5th academy in BotswanaCisco Systems has opened its 5th Cisco Academy in Botswana, with online curricula, virtual learning tools, instruction support as well as teacher training and professional development opportunities. Read More
According to VMware the future of the SAN is virtualCustomers looking to deploy SAN based environments that can scale quickly, support software-defined computing and deliver on increased performance need look no further than VMware’s new Virtual SAN 6. Read More
FEATURED STORYMalawi Govt denies clinging to ‘Cashgate’ software
The Malawi Government will not exclude the software brand that has been in use for the country’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS), but it has rejected reports implying that it is ‘clinging’ to the old system.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya’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 NEWSVMware unveils vCloud for NFV with Integrated OpenStack to accelerate service innovation
VMware, the global leader in virtualisation and cloud infrastructure, today debuted VMware vCloud for NFV, an integrated Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) platform that will combine VMware’s production-proven ...