The computer company announced that it would develop a cloud ecosystem to drive innovation and IT development in the region
IBM is building a cloud ecosystem in Cairo by providing computing expertise to 100 Egyptian software companies to help drive innovation and develop skills in the region.
The computer company is working in collaboration with the Egyptian Information Technology Industry Development Agency and will offer its expertise to independent software vendors to help make Egypt become the center of cloud computing in MENA, according to a June 17 announcement of the agreement.
“The IBM initiative is an important step towards stimulating the growth of cloud computing applications, expertise, knowhow, promoting the culture, and use of ‘Applications as a Service (AAS)’ in the market, particularly in the Middle East and Africa,” Hussein El Gereitly, CEO of ITIDA, said in a statement.
Current spending on public cloud services in the country is lower than in other countries in the region, but Egypt’s market is expected to grow 67% in 2014 alone. IBM said Egypt has the fastest growing market in the Middle East and Africa.
“This project is part of our ongoing commitment to the local market,” Amr Talaat, country general manager for IBM Egypt, said in the statement. “It will enable these companies to grow without large capital costs. This is a real bonus for Egypt’s fast-growing entrepreneurial clusters, which often lack funding or physical IT infrastructure.”
Egypts about to get cloudy
ITIDA has been working to provide support for small and medium IT companies so they can expand their offerings to new markets and grow the Egyptian economy by focusing on technology trends like big data. IBM’s cloud is helping to enable companies to use available data and apply analytics on a massive scale, privately and securely.
IBM on June 17 announced the first 20 companies to benefit from the collaboration at a ceremony in Cairo. IBM Cloud will help these companies develop their IT solutions by allowing them to create and test cloud solutions and offer their solutions on the cloud so they can reach a wider audience. IBM will train the companies on putting their solutions on different IBM cloud computing platform such as SoftLayer and Bluemix. The statement said the platforms will help developers cut deployment time from months to minutes. ITIDA will choose further companies for the program in groups of 20 every three months.
The program is one of several investments IBM is making to support the development of IT skills in Africa. For example, in February IBM said it would invest $100 million to bring supercomputer Watson and other cognitive systems to Africa in a 10-year project dubbed “Project Lucy” after the first found human ancestor fossil. The project is meant to address obstacles with medical diagnoses, economic data collection and e-commerce research. Previously, in 2013, IBM opened its African Research Laboratory, which conducts research on challenges on the continent.
IBM’s cloud computing business has helped more than 30,000 clients and has invested more than $7 billion in 17 acquisition to build its cloud portfolio. It now has more than 100 SaaS solutions, 40,000 industry experts and 40 data centers worldwide.