IBM's focus on Africa finance sector bears fruit


"The financial services sector is quickly transforming; banking institutions are facing challenges that come with expanded infrastructure while still trying to keep [up-to-date] with new technologies like Internet payments, e-commerce, e-banking and m-banking as well as regulatory compliance and consumer protection issues," Kamanguya said.

The new IT infrastructure at CBE is expected to be based on IBM Power Systems, IBM System Storage DS8800 disk storage system, and IBM Tivoli and IBM WebSphere software, according to IBM.

Ethiopia recently opened up its IT sector with the entry of the SEACOM fiber-optic cable, and the deal is expected to further strengthen its relationship with major credit card providers such as Visa and MasterCard, while serving rural communities that benefit more from the growth of mobile-phone-based services.

Analysts in the IT sector view growth in the number of mobile developers and applications as one of the key considerations in the choice of a technology provider.

"Growth of mobile devices use means that there is now a huge population that can access various services that a service provider can leverage on to boost the profit margin -- for example, apps for mobile financial services," said Loren Bosch, country director, Internet Solutions Kenya. "The choice of a technology provider would involve identifying one who understands the target markets' core needs, is very creative and innovative, and has highly sophisticated infrastructure to deliver on this."