HP Expands in Africa, Follows IBM to New Fertile Ground

HP’s in some hot water with its board members, but in the wake of a webOS crash, layoffs and a parting of businesses, HP still looks towards global expansion.  HP’s announced the expansion of their operations in Africa by establishing new entities in 10 of the continent’s fast-growing economies.  The company aims to enable governments, businesses and consumers there to use information technologies to improve how they work and live by extending access to their portfolio of hardware, software and services across Africa.

This initiative includes new offices in Angola, Botswana, Congo, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda and they expect to open offices in Ethiopia, Mauritius and Mozambique by the end of the year.

“HP’s expansion in Africa will support the development of a strong information technology industry, which will underpin sustainable economic growth, helping to create employment, stability and life-changing opportunities across the continent,”said Brian Humphries, senior vice president, Growth Markets Organization, HP.

“HP’s unmatched portfolio of products and services positions it to become the leading IT provider in Africa and an important contributor to the growth in this region.”

This announcement came shortly after IBM announced their first office in Angola, and a Cloud Data Center and Cloud Lab in Johannesburg, South Africa.  IBM also announced that as part of their Corporate Service Corps program which is aimed at developing IBM leaders and providing skilled assistance to local governments and non-government organizations in emerging markets, they will be deploying 600 pro-bono employees to Africa until 2015.  The announcement took place at the THINK: A Forum on the Future of Leadership.

“The world is discovering Africa’s potential, and IBM is uniquely poised to help the region meet its growing demands. IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program helps lay the groundwork with communities by strengthening relationships with government officials and local partners, while providing IBM employees with a unique leadership development experience,”said Bruno Di Leo, General Manager, IBM Growth Markets Unit.

“As IBM targets more growth and emerging markets, leadership programs such as the Corporate Service Corps are vital to help train our employees on growth market environments and development opportunities.”

If you’re wondering why the sudden interest in expansion in Africa, the explanation is simple: both HP and IBM want to use their technologies to develop a foothold in Africa as the area presents the latest opportunity for technological expansion.  Getting in early means building a valid foundation that can branch into a number of varied services and offerings, as these companies have done in Asia.

IBM in particular has different teams spread all across Africa to address problems and provide solutions.   Teams in Nigeria’s Cross River province developed programs to provide free health care to mothers and young children, as well as one that provides financial assistance to disadvantaged households to spur entrepreneurialism.  Teams in Ghana worked on projects to narrow the digital divide between rural and urban areas. Teams in Kenya provided advice to improve the country’s ability to develop and retain top technology talent, modernize the national postal service, and establish a framework for e-government services for citizens, including electronic voting.  And the team in Tanzania helped the country develop an eco-tourism industry and adopt technology in its universities.

HP also has teams spread throughout Africa.  In Botswana, they are collaborating with Positive Innovation for the Next Generation and CHAI to expand the malaria pilot disease surveillance program to other infectious diseases as designated by the Ministry of Health; in Senegal, HP and Tostan are deploying a technology platform to help bring education to adults and adolescents who are without access to formal schooling.  In Uganda, HP is working with CHAI to expand the HIV Early Infant Diagnosis Program, which was first launched in Kenya in November 2010.  In Tanzania, HP is working with SafePoint Trust to implement a safe injections program and monitor results; in Mozambique, HP and Mozambique Development in Motion are establishing a computer lab in a rural secondary school, and in Ghana, HP and mPedigree have deployed a drug authentication system that allows consumers to verify that medications they purchase are not counterfeit.