IBM has recently announced its decision to invest in Africa. The multinational firm will be supplying computing technology and services for an all new upgraded cellular network spanning sixteen nations in Africa. IBM’s chief executive, Samuel J. Palmisano, flew down to Nairobi on Friday to make the major announcement. The customer is Indian cellular operator Bharti Airtel, who recently paid $9 billion for the African assets of the Kuwaiti mobile telecommunications company Zain.
The agreement runs for 10 years and IBM is set to handle customer service for Bharti, as well as provide the hardware, software, and services. While IBM has not disclosed the budget of the deal, the estimates by analysts peg it at more than $1 billion. IBM has had a presence in Africa for over 50 years and in the last five years the company has invested around $300 million in building data centres and creating technology training programs.
Analysts suggest that over the next three years the data centre space in the continent is going to increase by at least 10%. Africa is facing increasing need for data storage, which has resulted from the proliferation of internet across Africa. Online business and commerce have become the norm, and cloud computing and mobile devices have taken over the nation. In a situation where the data centre needs in Africa are on the rise, infrastructure and investment are required in copious amounts. This is where IBM comes in. This recent project by IBM has received financial advice from Trico Capital International, a specialist financial advisory practice focused on developing infrastructure projects in West Africa. Austine Ometoruwa, the CEO, has been instrumental in organising and structuring this financing deal.
If Africa is to participate in the modern global economy, improving connectivity is an essential step. The new data centre project has helped Lagos immeasurably for both businesses and consumers, as it has provided top level supply in this area. It is an important step in connecting the continent to the world’s major economies, providing better broadband and extra capacity to international networks.
On Thursday, Mr. Di Leo stated that there has been an increase in the usage of mobile phones in developing regions like Africa, not only for communication in the form of talking and messaging, but for other daily activities such as banking. It has been noted that only 23% of the total African population has access to banking services, and only eight million Africans use mobile phones for services such as payments. Though the number might look enormous, it is very modest when compared to other continents of the world.
In addition to being a very lucrative business opportunity for IBM, this new project is a chance for the firm to move into this new era of computing. It can enter the technological market without having to worry about the discrepancies between the old system and the new data. Given that mobile phone use in Africa is huge and set to increase even further, IBM’s new project, financially supported by Ometoruwa’s Trico Capital International, will provide computing power to Africa. Lagos would benefit from this a great deal and the project will help Nigeria succeed on the technological front by providing for its data centre needs.
Written by: Oluwaseyi only recently finished his Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Buffalo but he has had over a decade of experience online and might still have a geocities sites somewhere in the dusty corners of the web. Although now living in the USA, he has retained a strong interest in infrastructure development in his native city of Lagos, Nigeria and is planning a trip back once the spectacular new cable car system is finished. Although now living in the USA, he has retained a strong interest in infrastructure development in his native city of Lagos, Nigeria and is planning a trip back once the spectacular new cable car system is finished.