Cross River State Government Appoints IBM to Help Implement New Projects to Tackle Poverty in Rural Areas
The government of Cross River State, Nigeria, has appointed IBM (NYSE: IBM) to assist with the implementation of two new social welfare and healthcare initiatives designed to help people living in rural areas of Cross River State.
Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will provide business consulting services for two projects announced by the Cross River State government last August:
Project Hope – a free health care system for pregnant women and children under five. Through the initiative, the Cross River State government hopes to remove the financial barriers to healthcare for pregnant women and drastically reduce maternal and child mortally in the state. Project Comfort – a social benefit scheme designed to provide income assistance to people living in near abject poverty in order to support them in sending their children to school.
The agreement between IBM and the Cross River State government, which was signed last week, will see IBM supporting and facilitating collaboration between the different government ministries involved in the projects, as well as providing outside and objective counsel on management and implementation. IBM will also work with local Nigerian systems integrator Quanteq to design and implement the information technology (IT) infrastructure on which the initiatives will run and to ensure efficient linkage between the project databases.
The agreement follows the success of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program in Nigeria. Through this global leadership development program in corporate citizenship, IBM sends 500 of the companies top emerging leaders each year on assignments of one month duration in geographies across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Over the past nine months, IBM has placed 35 employees from 16 different countries on community service assignments in Nigeria alone, where they dedicated over 6,000 hours of community service performed by IT and business consulting professionals. One of the teams that worked in Cross River State conducted analysis and made recommendations to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development, which in part led the Ministry to take this important follow up step.
“Through its Corporate Service Corps program, IBM has played a key role in the conception and design of these important projects,” said Senator Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State. “We are now asking IBM back to Cross River State to help with the implementation of this work and to ensure that we benefit from the latest technologies and best practices from elsewhere.”
IBM recently sent another team of 15 Corporate Service Corps participants to Nigeria to work on a range of projects with local private, public and educational organizations to help them compete in a global marketplace. Since August last year, IBM has deployed 18 teams to African countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria.
“Working alongside the Cross River State government, we have the opportunity to work on initiatives that have the potential to transform lives and society in rural parts of Nigeria,” said Simeon Nwegbo of IBM’s West Africa office in Lagos. “It is a real and meaningful example of IBM’s vision for a smarter planet, where we are working with our clients and partners around the world, using modern technologies and processes to make systems more efficient and create a better way of living.”
The IBM Corporate Service Corps is an initiative designed to provide non-governmental organizations, educational institutions and small businesses in emerging markets with sophisticated business consulting and skills development to help improve local conditions and foster job creation. Now in its third year, the program, which IBM refers to as a corporate version of the Peace Corps, sends teams of top employees from around the world representing IT, research, marketing, finance, and business development to emerging markets for one month. The employees work pro bono with local organizations and businesses on projects that intersect business, technology and society.
For more information on IBM, visit www.ibm.com.