IBM today announced the appointment of Clifford Foster as chief technology officer for IBM sub-Saharan Africa, reporting to regional GM Mark Harris.
Foster, 38, has been with IBM for seven of his 17 years in the IT industry, highlighted by experience within the financial services sector working on complex projects and an assignment to IBM UK's consulting business.
A South African, Foster, first joined IBM in 2001 and has since grown within the company to become a Distinguished Engineer, which is a towering achievement in the company's technical and consulting community.
In his role as CTO, Foster will help IBM devise and create new research and development initiatives and investments in sub-Saharan Africa, a key growth market for IBM. He will help IBM clients, government agencies, universities, business partners and others understand the full scope of IBM research and innovation initiatives.
"No one country has a monopoly on innovation today – it's open, multi-disciplinary and can arise just about anywhere," says Harris. "Clifford will be able to apply IBM's global innovation expertise to the full range of exciting opportunities in Sub Saharan Africa to make sure the region benefits from innovation occurring around the world."
Since opening its first Africa Innovation Centre in June this year, building on such facilities as the Integrated Delivery Centre and Business Continuity and Recovery Services centre, IBM sub-Saharan Africa has emerged as a leading centre of enabling innovation for its clients, business partners, the academia and emerging entrepreneurs.
"Clifford is going to become a champion for IBM technologists in the region to share in IBM's research and development successes and help them lay a foundation in which to cultivate and grow their own local research and development initiatives," adds Harris.
"Our technical colleagues in growth countries around the world are absolutely critical to IBM's future, yet their technical communities are still relatively young," said Foster. "It is up to us to ensure that the experience and expertise of our research, development and innovation technologists in local markets gets shared across all of IBM in all countries for the benefit of our clients, economies and communities."
IBM spends $6-billion a year on research and development worldwide.