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IBM in Ethiopia: it's all about data
By Katrina Manson
The link between one of the world’s most powerful corporate leaders and a small bank in Ethiopia might not be immediately obvious. In this case, it’s an IBM server, which powers Awash International Bank. But soon it could be a lot more if Ginni Rometty (pictured) has anything to do with it.
Rometty, IBM’s chief executive, is spending a week in Africa with her top 15 executives. It’s the first time so many of them have been in one place outside New York. It’s also the first time IBM has convened its chief executives from all over the continent.
Among them were 54 business executives who had flown in from across Africa for Wednesday’s “Smarter Planet Leadership Forum” in Nairobi on everything from “big data” to “the future of technology in Africa”.
It is part of a growing effort to make a play for the one-billion-person continent’s economic potential and its ability to take on new technologies to solve developing-world problems, from creating new traffic systems to identifying counterfeit drugs. It also fits with IBM’s recent figures: while the company’s overall fourth quarter revenues were flat, emerging markets were up 7 per cent.
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