IBM joins hands with RTI to transform Africa through analytics

IBM Research- Africa has announced partnership with RTI International, a leading nonprofit research institute, to deploy big data analytics and cognitive technologies.

In one of the initiatives under this partnership, IBM and RTI are developing and testing intelligent systems for data capture and decision support to improve accountability and transparency in more than 100 schools in Mombasa County, Kenya. The project is designed to support the Kenyan Ministry of Education Science and Technology data collection initiative

Both firms will explore ways of using advanced technologies to capture accurate data about challenges in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, water and education.

Drawing on the power of big data analytics, researchers will provide insight to governments, aid agencies and other organizations who are looking to make more informed decisions about investment and development while having greater visibility of results.

“A dearth of data on Africa in the past has led to misunderstandings or misrepresentations of the continent’s history, economic performance and potential. Over the past few decades, even simple facts have been misrepresented – the size of a country, its economic performance, the amount of poor people, the volume of exploitable resources,” said Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, vice president IBM Research – Africa.

IBM Research - Africa and RTI International forge partnership

Bhattacharya hopes that the latest advances in mobile, big data and Internet of Things technologies have the potential to change that perspective about Africa by giving an accurate and dynamic understanding of Africa’s challenges, rising opportunities and incredible potential.

“Rapid advancements in technology and open data initiatives mean more data is available now than ever before, offering significantly greater insights to improve lives through smarter development programs,” said Aaron Williams, executive vice president at RTI.

“By combining our expertise in data science and development, RTI and IBM will apply the information newly at our fingertips to accelerate improvements in literacy, respond rapidly to the spread of infectious diseases, and discover and apply new innovations for improving the human condition in the developing world,” Williams added.

Applying insights and actionable evidence from data will be key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ambitious universal targets that will be confirmed by a United Nations Summit in September 2015. They include ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, IBM said.

Rajani Baburajan

[email protected]