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

Search News

comments powered by Disqus

MORE COMPUTING NEWS

Huawei identifies unique cloud solutions for Nigeria

ICT solutions provider Huawei said after a comprehensive study of Nigerian enterprise terrain, it has defined its cloud transformation agenda along four segmentations. Read More

100 non-profits receive Microsoft grants to close gap in computer science

Microsoft Philanthropies has announced grants for over 100 non-profits worldwide, of which 14 are in the Middle East and Africa.  Read More

Liquid Telecom Kenya launches data protection ‘CrashPlan for Africa’

In a bid to guard against rising cases of IT related frauds causing financial losses to businesses, Liquid Telecom Kenya has launched a backup and restore service dubbed CrashPlan for Africa, for businesses in Kenya to secure their data. Read More

Airtel, Microsoft encourage girls to look to ICT careers

Airtel Ghana, through its Evolve with STEM initiative, has collaborated with Microsoft Ghana for the maiden edition of the internationally acclaimed DigiGirlz Day in the country. Read More

Mellanox adds Cumulus Linux support for Ethernet switches

Mellanox Technologies, a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end interconnect solutions for data centre servers and storage systems, has announced that it has added Cumulus Linux support for the Spectrum line of 10/25, 40/50, and 100 Gb/s Ethernet switches.  Read More

Huawei takes big data solutions to Zambia

Cloud computing and big data were the subjects of a high-tech roadshow brought to Zambia by leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider Huawei Technologies this week. Read More

ProLabs launches SFP+ module that extends the life of Switch Hardware

ProLabs, the leading global provider of network infrastructure and connectivity products, has announced the introduction of a 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver, which will allow data centre and network managers the ability to extend the life of their cabling infrastructure with a simple cost effective upgrade.  Read More

World Development Report addresses persistent digital divide

According to the latest World Bank 2016 World Development Report on Digital Dividends, six billion people lack access to high speed internet and 4 billion still have no internet access at all. Read More

Dr Ndukwe Chairs BoICT Lecture/Awards

Dr Ernest Ndukwe, national coordinator of Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Nigeria and former executive vice chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) would chair this year's Beacon of ICT (BoICT) Distinguished Lecture/Awards Series, the organisers said. Read More

Huawei Uganda set to Launch “Seeds for the Future”

In a move aimed at deepening ICT among the youth, Huawei is set to officially launch the “Seeds for the Future” Program in Uganda. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks UnlimitedArbor Networks

FEATURED STORY

Nigeria satellite resources to boost economic growthNigeria satellite resources to boost economic growth

The Management of NigComSat says Nigeria’s satellite resources are primed to help the nation in accelerating robust ICT infrastructure to boost economic development for the country.

IN DEPTH

IBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South AfricaIBM Opens First Cloud Data Centre in South Africa

IBM is opening a new IBM Cloud Data Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new cloud center is the result of a close collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom and is designed to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.  

COMPANY NEWS

RSA research reveals blind spots in threat detection

RSA, The Security Division of EMC, has released the results of a new Threat Detection Effectiveness Survey.

Networks Unlimited event highlights SimpliVity's new Omnistack Software

Leading data protection focused distributor invites hyperconverged vendor to discuss disaster recovery and data protection.

MTN and Ericsson lead the way with first LTE-U network

To future proof its business, MTN SA, together with Ericsson, has successfully trialled LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) at MTN’s flagship channel store in Morningside, Johannesburg.