Johannesburg, IBM’s Chief Technology Officer, Clifford Foster, has reiterated his support for business development in Sub-Saharan Africa saying it’s an important market for his company.
Speaking to ITNewsAfrica.com recently, Foster noted that despite the global economic meltdown IBM has shown its commitment to the continent evidenced by its investments across Africa and its recent opening of offices in Nairobi and Lagos.
“ The economic meltdown has impacted on many but for us we have shown resilience through the opening of offices in Nairobi and Lagos, we’ll continue to invest in Africa as a matter of fact we are connected to sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.
The Technology supremo at IBM further explained that his organization has faith in Africa hence the graduate programme which they have established to recruit young professionals and expose them to culture and life at IBM.
“Our graduate programme is meant to show young graduates what it is like to work for IBM,” Foster noted
Upon his appointment in November last year, his stated priorities were to drive innovation through the company’s African Innovation Centre (AIC) and to establish various partnerships with universities across the continent; an initiative he is passionate about.
“My focus for 2009 will be on driving the AIC concept further into Africa. This is not a South African-centric statement; IBM will be tapping into innovation wherever it happens.”
True to his word, the Fortune 500 IT company expanded its operations in Kenya from sales and marketing offices to a fully fledged operation, in order to capture growth in the East African region.
Upon being asked what IBM was doing regarding cyber crime ahead of 2010, Foster, said they were working on a number of projects with the South African government without going into specifics.
“With 2010 coming, we are working on a number of projects, we have technology that can process vast amounts of data in real time. I’ am unable to give you specifics but what I can say is that it can be anything even border controls,” he explained.
IBM has been operating in Africa for nearly six decades and has invested more than $US120 million in the last two years as part of its strategy to focus on the world’s growth markets.
Its investments include a Johannesburg-based Africa Innovation Centre -which has a software solutions lab- cloud computing capability and a banking centre of excellence. Also, IBM has donated a Blue Gene Supercomputer, which is located at Cape Town’s Centre for High Performance Computing, to be used for research by institutions across sub-Saharan Africa.