African countries are catching up with the idea of building Smart Cities that will have basic infrastructure, flexible network-sharing opportunities and universal interoperability.
These are considered vital and cost-effective cornerstones on which to build a Smart City and a more efficient future. Without these, current cities will not survive and future ones cannot exist, said officials involved in planning.
The focus of planners is to build practical urban centres rather than focus on Internet of Things and sleek ultra-modern urban designs.
The idea is to leverage widespread mobile connectivity that will unify the entire ecosystem and improve how people live. Deployment of sensors and smartphones can help people use materials effectively.
Planners are examining how renewable energies are generated locally to avoid recourse to inefficient power supply grids; or where data will help decrease traffic, emissions and time wasted in congestion zones.
Development of Smart City requires thorough planning based on the principle of a bottom-up approach. The governments, regulators and service providers should work in partnership, invest for the long term and apply common standards in order to ensure wider digital and financial inclusion.
As Africa’s socio-economic development reaches an advanced stage, Smart Cities will depend on good connectivity and affordable mobile phones.
In addition to this, government investment in ICT will be vital, but so will participation from the private sector and society itself.