News

    IBM Promises Massive Investment Partnership in Africa

    United States-based corporate giant IBM is embarking on an ambitious investment drive in Africa. This follows nine months of research by the company, which concluded December 4 with a conference in New York City. A number of topics were discussed during two different panel discussions, including the acceleration of Africa’s economic development. IBM says the time is ripe for investment in Africa based on the emergence of Africa as an economic partner in a globally integrated economy, as well as the unprecedented sustained annual growth rates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that some African countries are currently enjoying.

    During the conference and as part of its commitment, IMB announced it was investing over $120 million as well as donating its super computer to assist in research work in higher learning institutions across the continent.

    Nicholas Donofrio is IBM’s executive vice president of innovation and technology. From the company’s headquarters in New York, he tells VOA’s English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that the company is mostly interested in partnering with Africa as an emerging global economic force.

    “The conference was actually a culmination of about nine months of work. And we brought all that work together in this conference in which about three or four hundred showed up from inside of Africa and outside of Africa with a single purpose of trying to understand the opportunity that exists, and talk about, and think about how to deal with some of that opportunity. And of course what we did was simply orchestrate all of these, bring it all together in a very open collaborative, multi-disciplined and global fashion. And by the way, those are ingredients we think are fundamentally important for innovation in the 21st Century. And at the end, made our commitments,” Donofrio noted.

    He said most skeptics are unaware about the positive wind that is blowing across Africa, which he said could potentially attract investors.

    “It’s very simple. It’s always about change in my mind. Everything that we do is always about change because it’s an incredibly fast changing world, and things are changing very fast in Africa just that most people don’t’ understand how fast things are changing and improving. Africa has approximately one sixth of the globe’s population, almost a billion people. It has the youngest population as a continent on the globe, and it has the fastest growing population as a continent on the globe. Blessed with natural resources, plenty of countries inside of Africa where there is political stability and therefore, the beginnings of economic stability. So, our sense is that Africa is going to emerge faster than most people think. That’s why we did the work,” he pointed out.

    Donofrio shed light on some of IBM’s investment commitments in Africa.

    “The $120 million was just an improvement next year. So, we are going to invest an additional $120 million in our ability to continue to do business in Africa. We also said we are going to hire 100 new professionals in Africa. We’ve been in Africa, as you know, for well over 50 years. So it’s not like we don’t understand what’s going on there and we haven’t been paying attention. We’ve got a very strong business in a number of countries. We want to grow that to more countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa,” Donofrio said.

    He said IBM is also interested in helping among other things educational research work in Africa’s universities and other institutions of higher learning.

    “On top of that we want to do some very specific things; we want to improve the infrastructure by giving Africa a world-class high performing computing system. We are giving them one of our blue genes high performance computers, one of our super computers. It’s going to be housed in one of the universities in South Africa, but it’s going to be opened to all of Africa to solve all types of critical, either infrastructure social healthcare, problems and climate, environmental problems and issues,” he noted.

    Donofrio said IBM wants to partner but not exploit Africa in its quest to become a significant economic player on the world stage.

    “This is not about handout or hand me down. The Africans that we spoke to… they were looking at focusing on being enabled to be their best. Being enabled to make a difference, and that is what we have structured our thinking around. It’s all about enablement, we want to be your partner, and we want to help you be what you want to be and what you can be. We want to work with your education system, we want to work with the infrastructure, we want to work with the government, and we want to work with industry partners in partnership to enable Africa to live up to these expectations, to fulfill itself,” Donofrio pointed out.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora