Love is Colder than Death, that is the title of a film made a famous and now dead German director. This seems to be the case with IBM as our partnership refuses to die but it is usually very cold, most of the time. That is until I get this very unexpected messages from our partner asking us to to “something cool” with the resources they contributed to UNDP a few years ago and which have been unable to spend so far.
The latest proposal is to concentrate the work in Africa and support IBM ongoing efforts to deploy cloud centers in the continent. As it stands today, IBM has cloud innovation centers in Morocco, Nigeria and now Nairobi, which was just launched (see here for latest on this; the latest on IBM’s cloud innovation centers is here). The centers are catering to all sectors, governments included. Analytics is one of the services the centers will offer to public administrations.
During our conversation, the IBM rep for Africa informed me that the UNDP CO in Nairobi had approached them and asked then to support the launching of the local ICT business centers they are planning to launch, as part of the ICTD programme that has been in the works for over a year now. My impression is that IBM is not keen to move in this direction. From my side, I mentioned INSIHD to IBM and also noted that in my meetings with UNDP CO in the recent past I had made a pitch to bring the ICTD project into the larger devolution programme the government is about to deploy with support from UNDP. IBM was interested in both.
I contacted the CO to ensure we are on the same page when we speak to IBM and pushed once again the idea of linking ICT to devolution. The CO agreed on both. But the situation is still very fluid.
Let us see how long it will take before the cold return. I hope it doesn’t.