IBM launches research centre in Kenya

NAIROBI Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:25am EDT

A worker is pictured behind a logo at the IBM stand on the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover February 26, 2011. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

A worker is pictured behind a logo at the IBM stand on the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover February 26, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

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NAIROBI (Reuters) - U.S. computer services company IBM and Kenya have opened a research lab they hope will save the country billions of dollars by developing technology to improve delivery of public services.

While IBM did not say how much it would invest, Robert Morris, vice president for services research, said on Monday it would be a "significant" amount. Globally, IBM ploughs about $6.5 billion per year research and development.

Kenya will contribute $2 million annually over five years, information and communication permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said, with copyrights for resulting works being shared.

Kenya, Rwanda and other countries in east Africa have vibrant ICT sectors, typified by successful mobile phone-based money transfer services, bill payment services and mobile banking.

Ndemo said while it was hard to quantify the savings from the resulting research, automating various government services would save billions of dollars.

"There are several registries, which if we completely automated, our estimate is that we can plough back to the Exchequer up to $10 billion by simply creating efficiency through higher productivity," Ndemo said.

IBM, which has a presence in more than 20 countries on the continent, said the single biggest challenge facing African cities was improving services such as water and transportation.

In Africa, IBM, a bellwether for the IT industry because of its worldwide reach and breadth of businesses, already provides network support for telecoms firms and commercial banks, among others.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Richard Lough and Dan Lalor)

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Comments (14)
Ranger01 wrote:
IBM, One of the largest outsourcing companies in the Untied States. It is no wonder it does not offer good jobs in the United States.

Aug 13, 2012 1:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
rae4palin wrote:
This will aid the search for the elusive element Watermellonium.

Aug 13, 2012 2:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
FredH1 wrote:
Obama gives Kenya $300 millions every year as foreign aid (free money) but paid by you and me. $2 Mill for few years given to IBM is a chicken feed. Actually we are paying to IBM to research on our expense.

Aug 13, 2012 3:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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