American multinational technology giant, IBM has opened its second research location in Africa, and its first in South Africa, with an IBM Research Lab unveiled on Thursday at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
It also announced in the press release the launch of several new project collaborations in the areas of data driven healthcare, digital urban ecosystems and astronomy.
Solomon Assefa, director, IBM Research in Africa said in a statement that:
“South Africa is a tremendous growth and transformation story, yet its increasing population and healthcare delivery shortfalls continue to pose challenges in the country, With the ability to detect patterns and discover new correlations, cognitive and cloud computing and the Internet of Things can provide potential solutions.”
As part of a 10-year investment program through South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry and working closely with the Department of Science and Technology, the new research lab is based at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
“The launch of the IBM Research laboratory is an exciting milestone in the move towards a new era of globally competitive research, innovation and entrepreneurship that will be emerging out of the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein. Wits is delighted to be collaborating with IBM. We look forward to seeing top talent congregate to address the continent’s most intractable problems and work on the world’s next game changing technologies,” said Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Aligned with areas of strategic national importance, the lab’s focus areas include Data Driven Healthcare, Digital Urban Ecosystems, Exploring the Universe and Open Infrastructure, Sustainable Design
IBM has operated in Africa for almost 100 years. Today, its operations span 24 countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania. IBM’s first African research lab was opened in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013.