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After three decades of civil war, Angola has emerged in the past half-decade as one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. It has an abundance of oil and diamonds and important fishing, forestry and farming industries. The government is doing a great deal to build infrastructure, boost private-sector investment and modernize agriculture.

Enter IBM. As part of its African expansion strategy, the company today announced the opening of a new branch office in the capital city of Luanda–following quickly on branch openings in Senegal, Tanzania,and Ghana. In fact, this move represents a re-entry for IBM. It was active in Angola in the 1950s and 1960s. Now the focus is on helping to build a modern technology infrastructure to help the country’s economy continue its growth trajectory and the government provide better services to citizens.

The expansion in Angola gives IBM a direct presence in over 20 African countries including South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia.  In 2006, the company had a direct presence in just four African countries.

IBM’s smarter planet strategy offers African countries the opportunity to leapfrog other more mature economies. As these countries build out infrastructure ranging from telecommunications and utilities to transportation and health care, they can take advantage of new technologies that make it possible to harvest and analyze vast amounts of data, helping them operate businesses and institutions more effectively and efficiently. The advent of cloud computing offers companies and government agencies the opportunity to access cutting-edge computing capabilities in the form of convenient and affordable services.

Banking will be a key focus for IBM. Already, IBM is helping one of Angola’s major banks transform its core banking technology infrastructure and support business growth. It’s doing projects like this throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including for the First National Bank of Namibia and Union Bank of Nigeria.

IBM is engaged actively in corporate citizenship across Africa. Since 2008, IBM Corporate Service Corps has deployed 250 of its most talented employees on projects in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt helping to solve local problems with the aim of fostering economic development and job creation. The company plans on increasing its commitment in the coming years.

Doing business in these markets is risky. But, in Africa, typically, some countries are on the rise even while others run into trouble, which is why its smart to place a number of bets. There’s no denying the opportunities, though. African and Western economists and business analysts believe that Africa is at last emerging as an important player in the global economy. IBM aims to play an key role in helping that happen.

To learn more about IBM’s approach to doing business in Africa click here.

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