IBM plotting African expansion

IBM is not the first destination for small to medium enterprises when it comes to business solutions, but that is something  Jeanine Jennings, IBM’s new MidMarket Executive, and Andy Monshaw, MidMarket Global GM, want to change.

IBM’s new MidMarket Executive Jeanine Jennings (image: file)

“Broadly speaking, for IBM South Africa, we have two things. We have identified customers who wanted to expand into Africa and thought about ways in which we can support them to do that. So we looked at big and key clients to see how we could support them. Secondly, we have established branches and infrastructure on a very rapid scale — we have opened offices in Ghana, Angola and Kenya. And then we signed a big contract with Bharti Airtel that accelerated us even more. We (have) opened up in 16 countries in the space of six months,” Jennings said during a press event.

Monshaw believes this is only the start of IBM’s expansion into Africa. “We have a very structured model for expansion. We (have) named a chairman of Africa, which is one of IBM’s top 60 executives, living in Johannesburg.”

While IBM focuses on Africa as a whole, Monshaw says South Africa specifically has the company’s undivided attention. “IBM’s growth plates include Smarter Planning, Cloud, Analytics and Growth Markets. Inside Growth Markets, I can easily say that right now Africa is at the top of the list of everyone’s attention.”

Monshaw hopes IBM’s programs will educate SMEs and show them IBM has solutions for their business.

Charlie Fripp – Online editor


  1. "We have identified customers who wanted to expand into Africa" I am happy to hear this as Africa is hotting up. At the same time I hope IBM is looking to identify and nurture local concerns and help them grow. I don't believe in protectionism necessarily as a tool to grow emergent economies and the market potential thereof, which speaks solely to the local mindshare and the potential resulting businesses.

    It is import to bring in external concerns and the money that follows and IBM is helping to facilitate that. However care must be taken to be certain that the fledgling emergent business sector which can not compete with external concerns (at least in terms of capital) aren't sacrificed in favor of the external concerns. This is the sort of thing IBM must be careful to avoid as its these types of activities when engaged insensitively that bring about calls for protectionism, whether justified or not.

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