Assistant Secretary for Global Markets, U.S. Department of Commerce, Arun Kumar has commended IBM Research – Africa for its technology-based solutions to Nairobi City County, among other projects during a tour of the facility today. He was speaking after a tour of IBM – Research Africa Lab in Karen when he described IBM as “driving innovation in Africa, for Africa and World” adding that the work done by the researchers in Nairobi can be applied not only in Kenya but in other cities around the world.
Scientists from IBM Research – Africa are currently working on a pilot project with Nairobi City County to help manage and optimize the city council’s fleet of waste collection vehicles and create a digital map of the condition of Nairobi’s streets.
Speaking during the tour, Vice President of IBM Research – Africa Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya said IBM is currently in negotiations with Nairobi City County to extend the project to all of Nairobi’s waste collection trucks and ultimately to the city’s other service vehicles.
“I understand that IBM Research Lab Africa is the first full scale industrial lab in the continent. Driving innovation and socio-economic development by formulating commercially viable solutions to transform lives and enable new business opportunities in key areas such as water, agriculture, transportation among other areas” added the US Assistant Secretary.
The data will be used to help council officials to optimize and expand their waste collection services. In the first stage of the project, IBM scientists have fitted 10 waste collection trucks with smart devices.
Using big data technologies, IBM scientists analyse information and draw insight about the fleet efficiency as well as condition Nairobi’s streets and related urban infrastructure.
The US delegation’s visit comes ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Kenya next month for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).
“GES is an opportunity for Kenya to showcase its economic leadership and progress as well as innovative and highly entrepreneurial people on a global platform. This is both a historic and sentimental visit by President Obama and the GES, founded by him, will be held in sub-Saharan Africa,” Assistant Secretary Kumar said.
President Obama will lead the US delegation to join approximately 1,200 attendees including entrepreneurs, investors, educators, government officials and business representatives for the summit.