IBM has announced that US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has appointed Takreem El Tohamy, IBM’s GM for Middle East and Africa, to the US President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. Takreem El Tohamy is among a group of 23 private sector leaders selected to advise the US President on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the US and Africa.
The President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) was created in 2014, as part of an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama, to promote broad-based economic growth in the United States and Africa. As a PAC-DBIA member, Takreem El Tohamy will provide information, analysis, and recommendations on U.S.-Africa trade and investment priorities, including U.S. and Africa job creation; developing and strengthening commercial partnerships to increase U.S. public and private sector financing in Africa; and analyzing the effect of policies in the United States and Africa on American trade and investment interests in Africa.
“I’m honored to represent IBM on the President’s Advisory Council,” said El Tohamy. “IBM has long recognized Africa’s potential, and we’ve been partnering with local organizations on the continent for almost a century. In recent years in particular, we’ve seen how local governments and organizations have been able to leapfrog in technology adoption by embracing the latest innovations such as cognitive systems, cloud computing, data analytics and mobile technology.”
“We’ve been working aggressively with clients and partners to develop skills, build out infrastructure and boost local scientific research to develop unique solutions to Africa’s unique challenges. These local investments have enabled us to create win-win scenarios for both U.S. businesses and local clients.”
With more than 30 years of experience at IBM, Takreem has led expansion of the company’s capabilities and facilities across Africa. IBM now has a direct presence in 24 African countries.
IBM also has been investing heavily in developing local skills and talent. A recent example is the Africa Skills Initiative: through a $60 million investment, IBM is supporting African governments and academic institutions to narrow the skills gap between tertiary institutions of learning and market place requirements.
IBM has research, technical and client centers across Africa including global delivery centers in Egypt, Morocco and South Africa; client centers in South Africa, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria, and a regional Digital Sales Center in Egypt. IBM has opened two Research Labs in Kenya and South Africa, where scientists are driving innovation through the development of commercially-viable solutions that transform lives and spark new business opportunities. IBM also launched this year its first IBM Cloud Data Center in South Africa.
Through long standing commercial partnerships as well as new ventures, IBM is assisting African businesses in key industries including telecommunications, banking, healthcare and government with their digital transformation, and their shift to cloud in the cognitive era.
For example, IBM is helping deliver electricity in Kenya, accelerate the adoption of mobile banking in West and East Africa, transform the healthcare and insurance sectors in South Africa by implementing the latest cognitive technologies and boost youth-government engagement in Uganda. IBM is also providing cloud computing expertise to independent software vendors (ISVs) in Morocco and Egypt to help drive innovation, to name a few recent engagements.
IBM is also investing in pro-bono consulting with multiple Corporate Service Corps (CSC) projects, IBM’s global effort to solve critical problems through employee volunteerism. Africa, a growing market for IBM, is one of the focal points of the program. Recent engagements include recommendations for developing smarter healthcare and education capabilities in Angola, South Africa, Senegal and Morocco and enhancing education opportunities for women in Ghana. To date, the program has deployed approximately 1000 IBM employees for projects in South Africa, Ethiopia, Angola, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt.
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