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Technology prop as IBM innovation centre opens

IBM-INNOVATION-HUBNAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – Kenya’s emerging position as a global ICT hub has received fresh acclaim after the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) launched its first East Africa innovation centre in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The new innovation centre will provide IT businesses, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics access to the latest enterprise software, hardware, training, business and marketing support.

Speaking at the launch, IBM East Africa General Manager Tony Mwai said that the advance IT and business recourse at the centre will strengthen the climate of innovation in the region and get new East Africa Solutions into the global marketplace.

“The goal of the new IBM Innovation Centre is to nurture and grow regional IT Innovation and help startups and new business to access markets faster. The centre is focused on solutions that use analytics, mobile and cloud technologies to solve key local and global challenges such as traffic congestion and better energy management,” he explained.

He said that the centre attendees will be able to participate in virtual and in-person training, test out their new products, network with peers from around the world, and receive mentoring and guidance from IT and business experts.

The local companies will also be connected with the technical and industry experts around the world.

Vision 2030 Delivery Board Director General Mugo Kibati said that IBM is an essential partner the development of a vibrant network of highly skilled individuals and businesses, who are driving innovation for Africa and the world.

“Technology is playing a critical role in building stronger Kenyan and East Africa companies,” Mugo explained.

According to the World Bank’s information for development (InfoDev) programme, the ICT sector has contributed up to 40 percent of the economic growth in East Africa in the past 10 years.

In Kenya the IT industry is expected to grow by 11 percent annually creating need for highly skilled professionals capable of driving IT innovation and entrepreneurship.

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IBM has also partnered with Jomo Kenyatta, Riara and Strathmore Universities to create advanced educational and training environments.

IBM is also working closely with the growing local venture capital community and local incubators and accelerators to identify and support entrepreneurs and startup companies.

The Nairobi centre joins a worldwide network of 40 other IBM Innovation Centers in 33 countries, including Morocco and South Africa.

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