I.B.M. Invests in Future of Africa's Cities

Steve Lohr reports on the new I.B.M. research lab in Kenya, which will work to tailor technological solutions to the prominent issues in Africa's major cities.

Nairobi, Kenya, was announced this week as the location for I.B.M.'s 12th research lab worldwide, and the fourth international I.B.M. branch in two years, following Ireland, Australia and Brazil. The lab will host a "resident scientist program," which will "bring in researchers from Nairobi and elsewhere in Africa to collaborate with I.B.M. scientists."

The purpose of this research lab is "to help train Africans to innovate in Africa," says Osamuyimen Stewart, I.B.M. scientist and native Nigerian, so that Africans can seek education and career-building skills in their native countries instead of moving West.

According to Lohr, "The Nairobi lab will seek to develop technology-assisted solutions to the problems of Africa's fast-growing cities (Africa has 52 cities of more than a million people - more than are in Europe). Water management and transportation, I.B.M. executives say, are prime examples. And solutions, they add, need not depend on long, costly projects."

"We're going to focus on very inexpensive solutions, rapidly developed," said John E. Kelly, I.B.M.'s senior vice president for research and director of I.B.M. labs.

Full Story: I.B.M. Adds an African Lab to Its Growing Global Research Network

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