IBM recently underwent a global reorganisation that saw the IT giant place a much higher emphasis on Africa and its role in helping to develop markets on the continent.
One result of the moves are the elevation of South African country manager Mark Harris to GM: sub-Saharan Africa. Others include significant investment into Africa.
"IBM has decided to invest in Africa; the commitment is there," says Harris. "A 2008 global reorganisation focused on growing the market."
IBM has been present in Africa for the last 55 years and is convinced the continent is on the verge of a growth era.
"Africa's time has come," says Harris. "And IBM has stopped talking and started doing."
The organisation recently completed an indepth study, the IBM Global Innovation Outlook: Investing in Africa and yesterday hosted an innovation forum in Johannesburgto discuss both progress made during the past year and what lies ahead.
During the past year, IBM undertook a number of new intiatives on the continent. They include the donation of a Blue Gene supercomputer to the Meraka Institute; the creation of a mentoring programme, Makocha Minds; a partnership with CARE on a microfinance grid; the launch of the IBM Africa Innovation Center; and the launch of Africa's first Cloud Computing Centre.
"Sub-Saharan Africa is a key focus of our growth strategy and we are rallying resources to ensure that we expand our reach to participate in the continent's economic transformation into global competitiveness," Harris comments.
"We believe micro-finance can contribute towards alleviating poverty," Harris says. "That's why we are building a micro-finance hub and providing the necessary technology with CARE Investments."
IBM also recently invested in a strategic IT services delivery capability infrastructure that includes its Johannesburg-based Integrated Delivery Center, which has created 1,500 new jobs to date, and the Business Continuity and Recovery Services facility.