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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora