IBM will invest $60m in Africa over three years to expand its technical academy and educational initiatives in the region. The company said it wants to bolster its investment in developing stronger regional capabilities in cloud services, big data and analytics.
In Kenya, where IBM’s Africa Research lab and Innovation Centres are based, the company is partnering with the Kenya Education Network (KENET) to deliver advanced certification courses in cloud and data sciences to faculty and students of 50 Kenyan universities linked by KENET’s broadband network.
The courses will be administered by IBM technical experts along with key faculty from participating universities.
“With a research laboratory, innovation centers, offices and other advanced facilities in more than 24 African countries, IBM has the highest concentration of technical talent on the African continent,” said Naguib Attia, IBM chief technology officer & vice president of technical leadership, MEA.
“As the leader in science and technology in Africa, we see it as IBM’s responsibility to make a strategic investment in skills development helping to lay the foundations of the Africa of tomorrow,” he said.
Attia said partners hope to reach up to 35,000 students by 2017.
Meoli Kashorda, executive director of Kenya Education Network said the certification program will provide university graduates with critical entry-level job skills in high demand by employers in Kenya and Africa more broadly.
“Both the African universities and leading private sector companies that are investing on the continent stand to benefit from this program,” he said.
The move comes just a few days after IBM unveiled a tech collaboration space in Nairobi, where the company hopes to facilitate tech partnerships between startups in the region. The space, which will make a range of IBM services like Bluemix and various cloud applications available to developers by offering credits, will open in August this year.