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IBM expands corporate programme in emerging markets

afrol News, 24 August - IBM is targeting new countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to spur economic growth using its breakthrough corporate citizenship initiative, the Corporate Service Corps, that provide small businesses, educational institutions and non profits with sophisticated pro bono business consulting and skills development to improve local conditions and foster job creation.

IBM today announced an expansion of its programme, now in its second year, which sends teams of 8-10 of its top employees from around the world, with skills in technology, consulting, research, marketing and finance to key emerging markets for one month.

The employees work with local organisations and businesses on projects that intersect business, technology and society. In addition to the new areas being targeted, IBM is expanding the number of employees participating in the programme in various regions from 600 to 1,500 employees by 2010.

Later this month, IBM said it will begin deploying teams to new countries including Nigeria, Egypt, and Asia as well as returning to previous sites in other regions. By the end of 2009, IBM will have sent 52 global teams to countries including Philippines, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Brazil, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Romania and Turkey.

"The Corporate Service Corps produces a triple benefit. Participants benefit via a once-in-a-life-time, problem-solving exercise in the developing world, communities gain by obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in pro bono expert consulting services, and IBM benefits by growing its next generation of leaders with the skills required to lead in a globally-integrated world," said Stanley S. Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, IBM.

Some of the new projects planned in Nigeria include helping a social welfare programme determine the best information system for monitoring and recording child and maternal health; create an information technology framework and policies to manage a computer network so that 18 different government departments can collaborate more effectively; conduct a feasibility study and road map for an IT park; and assist in the planning of an information system for a large scale business and leisure resort.

"The IBM teams are having a profound impact on the region by bringing highly valued skills on local projects and helping to transfer those skills to emerging centers of business across Africa. The result has been to significantly advance projects that will have a sustaining impact in the community and the foundation for a 21st century global enterprise," said Deidre White, president of the Citizens Development Corporation, the Washington-based consultant who has partnered with IBM in this initiative across Africa.

The IBM Corporate Service Corps has concentrated efforts in select cities and areas in order to make the biggest impact. The teams have worked to build systems and transfer skills as well as foster business-to-business and business-to-government relationships so that they are sustainable.

Some of the projects which have already been visited include, the establishment of business incubators with leading universities in Kumasi and Takoradi, Ghana; the Africa Wildlife Foundation in Arusha, Tanzania; development of a management information system plan for Business Against Crime, a South African NGO, that coordinates the activities of South African police, border guards and private security services as well as other projects across the continent.

The Corporate Service Corps is part of IBM's Global Citizen's Portfolio, a suite of investment programmes to help the company employees enhance their skills and expertise in order to become global leaders, professionals and empowered citizens of the 21st century workforce.

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