IBM started working on mounting its market share in Ethiopia as its partners in demanded products the company.
At a recruitment event IBM held at the Hilton Addis on November 20, 2012, involving numerous private and governmental institutions, officials of IBM noted the intensity of the pressure from partners.
Gordon Lehman, Market Development Advisor for IBM discussed the opportunities in Ethiopia. He reminded participants that Ethiopia, the 14th most populous country in the world, is one of the top 10 fastest growing economies. It is currently the 73rd biggest economy in the world out of 228 countries.
According to Lehman, Ethiopia’s ever growing economy with its stable macro-economy, stable political scenario, adequate guarantees and protections for investments, transparent laws, streamlined procedures, abundant labor force and natural resources, pleasant climate, and ample investment opportunities are the reasons for IBM to invest in Ethiopia,
He further underlined that Ethiopia, with 70 percent of the population under the age of 25, is undertaking huge investments in power, telecom, water, roads, health, schools and financial institutions. “Currently the country has around 18 million mobile subscribers and this number is projected to grow to 50 million by 2015” Lehman said. The 31 public universities and many private institutions currently churning out students in the hundreds of thousands, 70 percent of whom are due to be from the science and engineering fields, are among the reasons that pulled IBM, according to the advisor.
Some participants at the recruitment event said that they are sceptical about the timing IBM chose to scale up its market share in Ethiopia as many infrastructure projects for public and private institutions have been or are being undertaken.
Hanli Wood of IBM’s CEWA Business Partner Organization argues that many more new businesses are coming up and technologies expand and grow so quickly. She therefore believes that there is still intense opportunity for IBM. “I don’t think we are too late for infrastructure solutions. There are a lot of investments opportunities. With these investment, you need technology. Today, without technology, cell phones, the internet, one is a man on an island,” she said.
The other challenge this company will face, according to participants, is that its cost is higher than companies from China, India and other countries that are already involved in infrastructure installation in Ethiopia. Wood says, as long as we provide quality services, cost will not be an issue up for discussion. “Most importantly, institutions are very much concerned about their respective customers’ satisfaction and the return they maintain out of that.”