IBM and Strathmore University’s Research Institute with a focus on ICT, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and business development @iLabAfrica have signed an agreement to expand their partnership into training for the IBM mainframe z technology.

This agreement makes Strathmore the first university in Africa with the IBM mainframe z technology.

IBM said it will install the technology infrastructure at @iLabAfrica and impart transferable skills on the same to senior lecturers at Strathmore’s Faculty of information technology.

Announcing the development, Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of @iLabAfrica said the university recognized that the new mainframe technology was fast becoming the backbone of business critical applications and training professionals with skills in mainframe z technology was aligned to both Strathmore University’s policy of training relevance to industry needs and Kenya’s ICT Masterplan.

“Strathmore @iLabAfrica is honored by IBM’s decision to expand our partnership that will expose our faculty and students to the latest mainframe z technologies. Being the first in Africa with this IBM mainframe technology puts Strathmore University and @iLabAfrica at the top of technology training in the continent.”

IBM has had a direct presence in Africa for more than 60 years that today spans 20 countries, including Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. This new academic initiative advances IBM’s leadership and commitment to closing the skills gap between higher education curricula and industry needs and is just one of many ways in which IBM is investing in Africa and helping develop economic capacity.

Speaking at the event, Suresh Ramakrishnan, Business Area Manager, System z Ecosystem Development at IBM Philippines said the partnership is hinged on helping faculty strengthen their educational programs so their students can compete in the job market of any industry.

“Mainframe z Systems seeks to provide computing infrastructure to companies and governments around recent mega-trends including big data, Cloud, Social, mobile & security trends. Our partnership with Strathmore University will see growth of skills to support this computing infrastructure for the new app economy — enabling organizations to transact at the scale and speed of mobile, bring right-time analytics to every transaction, and ensure the highest levels of security and trust in the cloud,” said Suresh.

Strathmore and IBM said they will jointly introduce training curricula on mainframe z system technology which will be part of the Information Technology undergraduate degree program. @iLabAfrica is a Centre of Excellence in ICT innovation and Development set up by Strathmore University in January 2011.

It is an independent entity in the Faculty of Information Technology. It was established to address the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to contribute toward Kenya’s Vision 2030.

The research center is involved in interdisciplinary research, students’ engagement, collaboration with government, industry and other funding agencies.