LUANDA, Angola, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) experts on a community service assignment in Angola have recommended strategies to help improve the economy there, beginning with strengthening the oil and gas industries -- the country's biggest source of foreign revenue. IBM also helped Angola with a plan to strengthen its tourism programs and university system.
Making the recommendations were a 15-person IBM team from 11 countries that worked with three government ministries as part of a one-month IBM Corporate Service Corps engagement. This initiative sends IBM's top talent to provide pro bono problem solving services to non-governmental, government and small business groups in the developing world, on issues that intersect business, technology and society. This was the program's first initiative in Angola.
The IBM team of experts developed a blueprint for Angola's Centro de Apoio Empresarial (CAE) to better train small and medium sized businesses to tailor their services for the oil and gas sector, giving them promising opportunities for growth. The recommendations included closer collaboration with local universities. The institutions could fine-tune their curricula and offer mentors from the public and private sectors to provide students with a deeper understanding of the required skills for working in the oil and gas industries.
In addition, IBM advised CAE to train its own staff members to better understand the needs, challenges and standards of the energy industry. The team suggested the creation of CAE certifications for service providers, helping oil companies choose qualified partners. Finally, IBM suggested that CAE streamline and automate its own key internal business functions. Doing so will enable the organization to provide more timely and useful information to its members and stakeholders.
"IBM's Corporate Service Corps program has given us access to IBM's vast experience," said CAE Director Mr. Leonel Cossaco. "The IBM experts went beyond their initial scope of work of reviewing IT systems and pleasantly surprised us with an overall assessment of all critical areas where support is needed."
Some members of the IBM team also worked with Angola's Ministry of Hospitality and Tourism (MINHOTUR) to expand a framework promoting local tourism as part of the Angolan Tourism Master Plan 2020. The team recommended increased promotion of cultural events in provinces across Angola, introducing guided tours to areas of interest and implementing safety measures at beaches.
Education was also on the agenda. To that end, IBM created a plan for fostering an even better education system within the country. The team recommended that the Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Angola (AIESPA) consider more precisely aligning the coursework needs of students with the skills of teachers, and better aligning graduate student skills to industry needs. The team also recommended the creation of an online platform so that members of the organization can share information and ideas. Establishing the University Information Network of Angola would play a role in making this plan come to fruition.
The projects were coordinated with the Angolan Ministry for Petroleum Sonangol, the Ministry of Hospitality and Tourism, and the Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Angola.
"Through multiple pro bono engagements across 11 countries in Africa so far, IBM has demonstrated its deep commitment toward helping African economies prosper. In Angola, we are pleased to support the government in its reconstruction plans and help it meet the key targets of its development plan," said the IBM Country General Manager for Angola Paulo Falcao.
IBM's Corporate Service Corps deploys IBM'S most talented employees from around the world who have expertise in technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, human resources, law, and economic development. Issues they address range from economic development, energy and transportation, to education and health care.
By year's end, approximately 2,400 IBM employees based in 52 countries will have been dispatched on more than 187 Corporate Service Corps engagements, and undertaken 850 team assignments in 34 countries since the founding of the program five years ago, in 2008. Over the last five years, the program has sent more than 638 employees on 56 teams to more than 11 countries in Africa.
Follow IBM's Corporate Service Corps by visiting http://www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/corporateservicecorps/ , or on the CitizenIBM blog at www.citizenIBM.com and on Twitter, at @citizenIBM.
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