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eGovernment Forschung | eGovernment Research 2001 - 2018

The rate of Urbanization in Africa rose from fifteen percent in 1960 to forty percent in 2010, it is even expected to reach sixty percent by 2050. In this context, Africans are discussing how smart cities technologies can be involved to facilitate and improve living conditions. Countries across the continent are aiming at developing smart cities to use greener energy in their daily routine.

Laying the scene for smart cities

Our continent has the most rural areas on earth, with only 40% of its population living in cities. However, the continent is expected to be the fastest urbanized continent by the year of 2020. How will this be possible without robust infrastructure?

The poor infrastructure of our continent hinders its economic development. The fragility of the infrastructure is more noticeable when traveling from one place to another. Disused wagons are common and the train makes several unexplained stops. Still, the continent transport issue is not the biggest one, but electricity is. According to a German Development Cooperation economist Matthias Grossmann: “The majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa still experience regular power-outages, which of course contribute to a low productivity of many firms.”

Our continent needs to look for potential solutions to its infrastructure problems to seek real development in every sphere, before thinking about developing smart cities.

Smart cities are those which rely on the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to facilitate and improve the daily usage of transport networks, work, and electricity as it was asserted by the International Telecommunication Union: “an innovative city that uses ICTs and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects.” Smart initiatives

Although the African continent is still in the early stages of urbanization, private and public organizations are investing and promoting green projects. Rwanda is a pioneer in this context, it is relying on the use of an e-governance platform to modernize its public services.

Transform Africa Summit which was held in May 2017, included a presentation of Smart Cities Blueprint by the Rwandan government. The framework’s objective is to familiarize people with the use of ICT-driven initiatives across the continent. Ten steps are established to create a smart city, the most important ones are; data collection, identification of city development challenges, piloting the project, and finally evaluating the project’s efficiency.

Some African countries are looking for potential solutions to boost economic and social growth. For instance, Nigeria is opting for the inclusion of ICTs in physical infrastructure. With the use of Chinese technology, Ethiopia is also developing a smart parking project. In collaboration with IBM, the Ghanaian government is aiming at implementing economic and social reforms. The adoption of smart cities can help the continent face the challenges of the urban environment and improve the quality of life of city dwellers.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Selassie Alitash

Quelle/Source: AFRIKA NEWS, 26.02.2018

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