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The adoption of the ‘Smart City” concept in Zimbabwe is expected to generate the much-needed investments that will boost economic growth towards the targeted upper middle-income status by 2030.

This emerged during the one-day Zimbabwe Smart Cities and Rural Communities Infrastructure Forum in Bulawayo on Tuesday where experts pointed out that smart city modelling was a global phenomenon and Zimbabwe should not be left behind.

The smart city concept emphasises on adoption of technologies such as smart grids, agritech, e-commerce, digital finance, e-grocery platforms, smart transport system, smart tourism, smart education, smart health, smart housing and e-governance.

With Covid-19 wreaking havoc world over including Zimbabwe, the need for smart technology adoption in every aspect cannot be overemphasised.

Already statistics show that about 200 000 affordable houses are needed to cater for the growing population and that infrastructure development strategies will be crucial in meeting this target.

The country also thrives on agro-business hence the need to invest in smart technologies that will enable farmers to remain relevant and make proof from climate proof plants.

Speaking after the forum, one of the organisers, Mr Nicky Moyo, said he was happy with engagement from different stakeholders who converged to discuss smart cities and rural applications.

“Uncertainties of the post-pandemic have compelled cities and rural communities to focus more on developing collaborative, data-driven infrastructure to provide healthcare facilities,” he said.

“This is crucial for attainment of Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 goals. Due to the tremendous rise in population, cities and rural communities all around the world are facing complex social, economic and environmental challenges requiring innovative solutions that include infrastructure planning, and governance,” said Mr Moyo.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to education. In this special situation, lots of students have to learn online, which tests the resilience of ICT in education in every country.

“In response to these demands, countries and international organisations are exploring new paths to adapt to the intelligence age.”

Mr Moyo said the smart city narrative would also boost economic activities as it will generate interest from investors into the country.

“By utilising the smart city mindset, the entire housing sector can come together to deliver the urgent need for more sustainable homes, designed for future generations to live and work together,” he said.

“Digitisation stands as an essential, unstoppable revolution to ensure future-proof cities and rural communities focused on people and the environment.”

Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni said the concept will help Bulawayo attain its vision of being a leading smart transformative city by 2024.

He said Bulawayo has adopted a smart water management system and recently introduced the smart parking management system, which has decongested the city and at the same boosting revenue.

“These technologies are today creating a brand-new smart city infrastructure, creating new opportunities for resolving specific problems in the area of resources and energy efficiency, urban organisation, and demographic changes in modern megacities,” said Clr Mguni.

“I cannot stress enough on the need for all stakeholders to adopt the smart city concept following the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought unprecedented challenges to different sectors, especially the education sector where online learning became the panacea to the problem we were faced with.

In actual fact, this tested the resilience of ICT in education in every country,” he said.

Bulawayo secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Peter Nyoni, said the development of a smart city promotes new industrialisation, creates new conditions for living, work, education, accumulates social and human capital, and attracts financial resources for business development.

“We are glad to be hosting this forum in Bulawayo as we believe that adopting this concept will help us develop and also attract investors who will boost our economic activities Bulawayo and as a country,” he said.

“These technologies will also allow us to communicate with our stakeholders and once we become transparent in our operations as we reduce suspicion and then have sustainable governance,” said Mr Nyoni.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu

Quelle/Source: Chronicle, 28.04.2022

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