IBM on Thursday opened an Africa Innovation Centre in Cape Town as it pushes its agenda on development of information technology.
Speaking to IT News Africa from Cape Town, Clifford Foster, IBM’s CTO said this was the beginning of exciting opportunities his company will offer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“What we are opening today is the first satellite of the Johannesburg centre, we’ll continue to do so across Africa,” he said.
Foster explained that the choice of Cape Town was influenced by the increase in business activities by IBM in Western Cape but they will continue to do so in other cities in Africa.
The centre will help local businesses develop and deploy new technologies that support key digital infrastructure opportunities in government, banking, insurance, retail, and travel and transportation industries.
The IBM Africa Innovation Centre in Cape Town will provide local customers, business partners, start-up companies, software developers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and the academic community with access to training workshops, consulting services, a broad technical infrastructure, and hands-on assistance to help solve business challenges and bring new technologies to market.
The centre supports IBM’s efforts to help grow the burgeoning local IT ecosystem and is part of IBM’s US$120 million (approximately R1-billion), two-year market expansion investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
As the second IBM Africa Innovation Centre established in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Cape Town centre will help connect businesses and academics with the Johannesburg centre, which opened last year, and additional local IBM initiatives. The new centre will support skills development by demonstrating and providing training and access to open standards-based and emerging technologies such as cloud computing, Web 2.0, service oriented architecture (SOA) and energy efficient IT solutions.
Through its expansion efforts, IBM has grown its South African business partner community by 40 percent since the beginning of 2008, adding more than 200 new companies to a group that now totals over 700 local resellers, solution integrators and ISVs today. In Cape Town alone, 140 ISVs offer solutions that run on IBM software and hardware.