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 Friday, November 16, 2012
Kenya's claim to being Africa's leader in information and communication technologies (ICT) got a boost last month, when IBM announced it would place its first African research lab in the country's capital Nairobi.

The announcement, on 13 August, is a feather in Kenya's cap. Like other African nations, it is looking to the private sector to pad out national spending on research and development (R&D) and boost innovation.

By getting the lab, Kenya joins countries like Australia, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and the United States, which host the computer giant's other research units.

'IBM Research Africa' will conduct basic and applied research in areas including the use of modern technology to improve government efficiency, root out corruption and manage city services, such as water utilities and traffic control.

The lab will serve Africa as a whole, and house IBM researchers alongside Kenyan and other African talent, selected and nurtured through a Resident Science Programme.

"The IBM research lab will not only rubber stamp Kenya as Africa's leader in ICT, but will help the country to transform into a knowledge-based economy", Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in Kenya's ICT ministry, was quoted as saying in a press release.

But the decision means other African countries with ambitions in ICT leadership will need to do some soul-searching to work out how to achieve their technological aspirations.

(Source: SciDev)