Innovation

The Need and Opportunities for Smart Cities Technology Innovations and Investments in Africa

The Population Reference Bureau predicts that Africa will be home to 2.4 billion people in three decades, more than double the current population. Rural to urban migration is expected to increase, with 60% of the population expected to be living in cities by 2050. This will surpass China to record the greatest urbanization in the world. While this presents a challenge to the African governments that will need to invest more resources in the provision of social amenities, it also presents a perfect opportunity for development of smart cities across the continent.

Essentially, a smart city is one where public services, urban assets, infrastructure, mobility systems, human and social capital among other forces are improved and optimized under ICT. Smart cities offer a place to learn, live and work; space to innovate in a digital arena, a sustainable energy infrastructure and other social amenities such as health care. In addition to the expected influx of people into urban centres across Africa, there are several indicators that the continent is suitable for the development of smart cities.

Limited Legacy Drawbacks

African urban centres are not burdened by obsolete legacy infrastructure like most Western and Eastern cities. This makes it easy to develop a smart city ecosystem as cities have the opportunity to start with the latest technology. Countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Libya do not have substantial telecommunication infrastructure. Therefore, they do not have to upgrade from analog to ADSL.

Availability of Sources of Big Data

The quick penetration of mobile technology into the most remote villages and slums of the continent is making it possible for the marginalized to access information and join social networks. These social activities generate large volumes of big data which smart city designers can leverage to design efficient transport and communication networks, optimize energy consumption and waste collection, and improve the safety of residents.

The Success of Technopoles

The successful development of technopoles (technology parks) across the continent is a further indicator that it is ripe for development of smart cities. These technopoles have attracted considerable investments, augmented infrastructural development, and led to fibre optic connection. A perfect example is Egypt whose Smart Village Technopole led to the creation of over 50,000 ICT-related jobs.  

First Growing Economies

Deloitte reported that large multinational information technology firms are predicting that Africa will be the next big market thanks to the emergence of several rapidly growing economies. The report further notes that many African cities are at the cross-road of development in one shape or another. This provides an opportunity for the cities to innovate and lead a new generation of thinking while at the same time demonstrating tangible benefits to the citizens and the world at large.

A Growing Middle Class

African middle class is growing at a satisfactory rate. This population is also aspirational and wants the same things as consumers across other parts of the world; housing, interconnectivity and the latest fashion trends.

Current Initiatives

DT X Communications 4.0 Blockchain project is undertaking the development of a smart city as a prototype Proof of concept in the Republic of Moldova and later on to expand this with its channel partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The African country, is one of the two hosting this project in the world, the other being Moldova. The Aqua Telecom Smart City 4.0 project will make use of blockchain technology combined with national communications infrastructure to provide security, immutability, transparency, and scalability of applications developed for smart cities and artificial intelligence.

The DT X Project Team is looking for investors to help make this project come through, 16 million USD has been invested and currently has 1500 Kms of PVC Pipe laid across Moldova that will support 5 new fibre optics networks. If you would like to invest in this Smart Cities project, please contact the DT X Project team here.

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