As part of its ongoing expansion in Africa, IBM opened its first IBM Innovation Center in East Africa. Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the center will help fuel growth and innovation in the region, providing IT partners, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics with access to the latest enterprise software and hardware, training and business and marketing support.
The goal of the new IBM Innovation Center is to nurture and grow regional IT innovation and help startups and new business IT solutions get to market faster. The center is focused on solutions that use analytics, mobile and cloud technologies to solve key local and global challenges such as traffic congestion and better energy management. Center attendees will be able to participate in virtual and in-person training, test out their new products, network with peers from around the world, and receive mentoring and guidance from IT and business experts.
“Technology is playing a critical role in building stronger Kenyan and East African economies,” said Mugo Kibati, chief executive officer, Kenya Vision 2030. “IBM is an essential partner in helping us create a vibrant network of highly-skilled individuals and businesses, who are driving innovation for Africa and the world.”
The information and communications technology (ICT) sector has driven up to 40 percent of the economic growth in East Africa in the past 10 years, according to World Bank’s InfoDev.
In Kenya, the IT industry is expected to grow by 11 percent annually, creating a need for highly-skilled professionals capable of driving IT innovation and entrepreneurship. As a hub for ICT skill development and innovation, the center will serve as a launch pad for the ideas and solutions that will shape the IT landscape in the future, and play a key role in progress towards the East African community’s joint development goals.
“The new IBM Innovation Center is an important milestone in our expansion and work in East Africa,” said Tony Mwai, country general manager IBM East Africa. “The advanced IT and business recourses at the Center will strengthen our climate of innovation and get new East African Solutions into the global marketplace.”
The Nairobi Center joins a worldwide network of 40 other IBM Innovation Centers in 33 countries, including Morocco and South Africa. Through this network, IBM connects local companies and entrepreneurs with technical and industry experts around the world and can support growth with introductions into new markets.