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Thiés, Senegal - 16 Nov 2012: A team of experts from IBM (NYSE: IBM) presented recommendations to the City of Thiés to grow the economic sector through measures to bolster entrepreneurialism, agricultural exports, and education.
The 14-member IBM team of experts, with members hailing from ten countries, are completing a month-long engagement as part of IBM's pro bono Corporate Service Corps program, which provides problem-solving assistance to educational institutions, small businesses, non governmental organizations (NGOs), and governmental agencies in emerging markets. Since the launch of the Corporate Service Corps in 2008, over 2,000 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries. This was the program's first project in Senegal.
(IBM also runs a similar pro bono consulting program for more industrialized cities, such as in the U.S., called the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge. Two days ago, IBM announced 31 cities that will host teams of IBM experts in 2013 as part of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge program.)
"We are very pleased with IBM’s Corporate Service Corps initiative that took place in Thiés aiming to accompany local organizations in the social and economic development of the region,” said Oumy Thiam Sangare, General Secretary at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Thiés. “We see in this kind of initiative an excellent opportunity for skills transfer that could boost local development."
In terms of organic farming and fair-trade, the team worked with Agrécol Afrique to create a strong and consistent national brand that evokes quality and social responsibility and is designed to spur export of organic foods. Like much of Africa, farming in Senegal forms the backbone of the economy, employing more than 60 percent of the population and it accounts for about 19 percent of the country's GDP, according to the Encyclopedia of the Nations. To manage the timely and efficient movement of products, the IBM team recommended the use of a customer-focused supply chain model and an information system that uses cost-effective, secure, and convenient cloud technology.
The team also worked with Options Senegal, a program created by Options for Life, LLC, a New York-based social enterprise, in partnership with ChildFund Senegal, a non governmental organization, to provide entrepreneurial training and development programs for women and young adults. IBM recommended the implementation of a mentor program to develop enterpreneurial skills. The team also suggested the use of a telephone texting application to keep better track of orders and sales, and reduce transportation costs and delays.
In addition, IBM worked with the National Union of Traders and Industrialists to help promote local development. The team recommended the use of business software applications for hosting Web-based electronic commerce, managing inventory, and supporting client relationships.
Finally, the IBM team worked with the Consulting for Action Association and the Technical and Vocational Training High School.
"This is the first IBM Corporate Services Team to provide skilled services in Senegal. Each group has made a valuable contribution towards addressing some of the key challenges in the country, and this example reinforces collaboration between US and local companies and organizations," said Mamadou Ndiaye, IBM Country General Manager for Senegal.
The team was based in Thiés, the second biggest city in Senegal after the capital Dakar. Thiés is located at 70 km from Dakar and its economy is mainly based on agriculture, fishing, mining and industry.
IBM's Corporate Service Corps provides access to sophisticated expertise to help improve local conditions, enhance government services, and foster job creation. Team members, who are among IBM’s top talent, offer skills in areas that include information technology, research, marketing, finance, consulting, human resources and law.
Africa is a significant focus for the initiative. Since 2008, IBM's Corporate Service Corps has deployed more than 500 IBM employees on 50 teams to South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal, and Egypt.
Follow IBM's Corporate Service Corps on the CitizenIBM blog at www.citizenIBM.com and on Twitter at @citizenIBM
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