From Reuters, news of IBM's Nairobi Research Center is a little unclear. Will the center focus on e-governance-kinds-of-things? Or on the housing, sanitation, water, electricity (SCHOOLS) that so many Kenyans need?
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.
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.
NY Times reports that this move is a signal that IBM leadership believes Africa will be a growth region over the next few years. On the other hand, the move could be seen (perhaps more accurately) as a hedge.