IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, have opened the first commercial technology research facility in Africa at an inauguration ceremony in Nairobi on Friday.
IBM’s 12th global research lab – supported by the Kenyan ICT Authority – and located at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, will conduct applied research into the challenges of the African continent by delivering solutions that impact people’s lives.
The 2000m2 facility features one of Africa’s leading, cloud-enabled computing hubs giving IBM researchers the ability to analyse and draw insight from vast amounts of data in the search for solutions to Africa’s most pressing challenges such as energy, water, transportation, agriculture, healthcare, financial inclusion and public safety.
The lab’s research agenda will include the development of cognitive computing technologies which integrate learning and reasoning capabilities enabling experts to make better decisions in areas such as healthcare delivery and financial services.
In the new era of computing, IBM believes that Africa has a strategic opportunity to become an early adopter of cognitive systems.
“The establishment of this research laboratory underpins the government’s commitment to innovation ecosystems that are already available in Kenya,” said the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.
Over the past year, the IBM Research – Africa team has been conducting research projects while the laboratory was under construction. It now comprises IBM scientists and new recruits, starting with 20 PhDs and growing in line with the lab’s development.
“We are currently experiencing the emergence of a new Africa,” said Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, director, IBM Research – Africa.
IBM Research – Africa will forge partnerships with businesses, research organizations and universities across Africa and around the world.
In the picture above: President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, Director IBM Research – Africa (right) at the opening of IBM’s First Africa Research Laboratory.