IBM has opened an Africa Innovation Centre in Cape Town as part of its R1-billion investment in the region.
The centre is expected to help local businesses develop and deploy new technologies that support key digital infrastructure opportunities in government, banking, insurance, retail, and travel and transportation industries.
The IBM Africa Innovation Centre in Cape Town will provide local customers, business partners, start-up companies, software developers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and the academic community with access to training workshops, consulting services, a broad technical infrastructure, and hands-on assistance to help solve business challenges and bring new technologies to market.
The centre supports IBM’s efforts to help grow the local IT ecosystem and is part of IBM’s $120-million (approximately R1-billion), two-year market expansion investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
As the second IBM Africa Innovation Centre established in the region, the Cape Town centre will help connect businesses and academics with the Johannesburg centre, which opened last year, and additional local IBM initiatives.
The new centre will support skills development by demonstrating and providing training and access to open standards-based and emerging technologies such as cloud computing, Web 2.0, service oriented architecture (SOA) and energy efficient IT solutions.
Through its expansion efforts, IBM has grown its South African business partner community by 40% since the beginning of 2008, adding more than 200 new companies to a group that now totals over 700 local resellers, solution integrators and ISVs today. In Cape Town alone, 140 ISVs offer solutions that run on IBM software and hardware.
“Cape Town has a strong innovative spirit, and with access to the appropriate skills and resources, local businesses and academics can collaborate to build a vibrant technical community,” says Oliver Fortuin, GM of IBM sub-Saharan Africa. “The new Africa Innovation Centre demonstrates IBM’s commitment to help build the IT ecosystem to provide the necessary tools for developing 21st century skills and driving economic growth in the region.”
As part of IBM’s efforts to support the growing South African technical community, the company has helped develop curricula and provided no cost access to software, hardware and industry experts to ten South African higher education institutions, including the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, over the past year.
Additionally, IBM has seen substantial growth among South African software developers taking advantage of IBM developerWorks, the largest and most visited global site to gain technology skills. More than 10 600 unique South African developers are visiting developerWorks each month in 2009, gaining access to software tools and code, IT standards and best practices, and skills training in technologies such as IBM and open source software, Linux, Java, XML and cloud computing.