Oracle Corporation, the world’s second largest software manufacturer, has announced plans to open a regional office in Nairobi.

The office, to serve 20 African countries, will be open next month. It will serve the greater Eastern and Southern Africa as well as the Indian Ocean Islands. Khalil Hindwan of Oracle Africa Operations said the office would offer support, sales and administration services for the region.

He said Nairobi was chosen because of its strategic position. "With a vibrant aviation industry and qualified ICT personnel Nairobi emerged as the location of choice for Oracle," Hindwan said. The Nairobi office will serve, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi and Swaziland. Others are Madagascar, Re-Union, Seychelles and Mauritius.

Hindwan said the office would be staffed by locally recruited personnel. He said there was great potential for ICT growth in Kenya since many companies had included technology in their business plans. Oracle supplies software solutions for supply chain management, human resource, and financial sector, communication, media and entertainment industries.

Anthony Peake, Oracle’s senior director for Application and Industry Marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa described the Oracle E-Business Suite as the most functionally complete set of business applications. The suite connects and automates the entire flow of business processes across front and back office operations. Oracle’s clients in Kenya include mobile phone operators, Celtel Kenya and Safaricom, Ministry of Finance, National Bank of Kenya, Kenya Commercial Bank and Kenol/Kobil.