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[NAIROBI] Africa is said to be one of the fastest growing continents economically. But the continent still faces numerous challenges in addressing its developmental needs even as it strives to catch up with the developed world, according to IBM Africa’s Vice President, Kamal Bhattacharya.
In this podcast, SciDev.Net talks to him on the role of his organisation’s lab in data collection and analysis, and how this can translate into tangible solutions for Africa’s developmental challenges and policy making.
 “IBM opened this lab in Nairobi, Kenya, to help find solutions to the continent’s grand challenges in areas such as energy, transport, health and agriculture,” Battacharya tells SciDev.Net. He urges African governments to build local applications and solutions to the continent’s challenges.
IBM Research – Africa is the first commercial technology research facility on the continent conducting both applied and far-reaching exploratory research. According to Bhattacharya, the lab has been encouraging and strengthening an innovative culture, and building partnerships with businesses, research organisations, governments and universities across Africa and around the world.
For instance, IBM worked with Mobile Service provider, Airtell, to collect and analyse data on people’s perceptions of hygiene and Ebola in Sierra Leone.

This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's Sub-Saharan Africa desk.