IBM's first African research lab opens its doors

IBM has cut the ribbon on a new lab in Kenya that will focus on smart city and public sector tech

IBM has opened up its first research lab in Africa.

The lab, located in Nairobi, Kenya, will focus on building IT for the continent. This includes tools for use in the public sector as well as smart city tech, initially concentrating on systems to help manage water and travel in African cities.

IBM said on Monday it is also hoping the lab will help increase IT skills in the country, by working with universities and public-sector organisations, as well as businesses.

The company is planning to install scientists in residence. These will be pre- or post-doctoral researchers from Africa, who will initially be given a one-year tenure at the lab to carry out their own R&D projects.

IBM said it has a footprint in 20 counties on the continent and is making a "significant investment in Africa" as it steps up its focus on the region and emerging markets.

The company, which has now has 12 labs worldwide, is also considering whether to open further research labs in the region.

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