THIES, Senegal, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of experts from IBM (NYSE: IBM) presented recommendations to the City of Thies 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 Thies 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 Thies. "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 Agrecol 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, an NGO for women and young adults that fosters entrepreneurial development and support. IBM recommended the implementation of a mentor program to develop entrepreneurial 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.