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IBM Business

Sarah Frier explores the opportunities of moving IBM business to Africa as she weighs possible risks and predicts the outcomes in her article. She used Kenya as an example of one of the African countries, experiencing economical, social and demographic challenges nowadays that are the results of the political instability and continuous chaos in the country. IBM’s new CEO, Virginia Rometti, claims that her company is capable of resolving many of the technology-related issues Kenya and other African countries are facing, as well as making them benefit from the cooperation with IBM in general. Frier admits that African continent is a place where incredible increase of the company’s profits is expected, although this was absolutely unbelievable a few years ago. Anonymous industry expert made an assumption Africa will need 10 years to outscore the incredible sales dynamics India had back in the 1990’s.

According to one of the IBM’s shareholders, African countries are so unpredictable and risky due to the lack of centralized governments and strict laws, present in China and India. Despite this, Africa receives credit for the unique potential, which makes it a creator of vacancies for thousands of people.  The IBM Company understands the problems Africa has, and tries to cooperate with local authorities and governments, providing new technologies and improving the systems used for maintaining business, manufacturing or work of the government organizations. IBM acts as a supervisor for some developing companies, creating hundreds of new workplaces, and gets promotion to the new markets in return.

Frier uses the experience of Steve Martin, one of the IBM’s executives, who considers preparation of the company’s superiors to working in the extreme circumstances his main task that should be fully accomplished, as otherwise they would not be able to survive the challenges Africa is going to expose them to. IBM does not look for the easy ways, exploring and settling in countries with unstable economic or political situations, e.g. Angola, where the civil war takes place.

Africa is a country full of risks, and requiring long-term investments before the actual profits would become evident. Using two or three African countries as examples, argue on the possible development of IBM and arrival of similar companies in these countries. Explain what factors would influence the decisions of these companies’ CEOs about further investments or withdrawal from the African markets.

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