The fifth issue that of safety and security. The population expansion in cities is a huge reason for the challenge in solving crimes and efficiently responding to emergencies as current systems did not envisage the current population in its development. These challenges are causing governments around the world to shift their attention to the smarter and more efficient use of technology for the integrated and sustained development of their cities, communities and people.
Of all the technologies in the world today, Smart City technologies hold one of the greatest potentials in transforming the socio-economic lives of urban communities around the world. Through its integrated approach, Smart City technologies are geared towards providing integrated solutions to government’s most depressing problems in the areas of healthcare, transportation, environment, public safety, security, energy and others.
The important question then is: What is a smart city? There is no one-size-fits –all definition for smart cities, as different cities and communities define their smartness based on their peculiar realities. This includes variables such as their level of technological development or the presence/absence of the basic technology infrastructure, the willingness or ability of the populace to adopt and adapt to changes, the available resources and of course the level of aspiration of the general citizenry for a better and more improved life.
However, we can simply define a smart city as an urban area which creates sustainable economic development and high quality of life for its citizens by excelling in key multiple areas such as governance, energy, economy, mobility, environment, healthcare, education and infrastructure through the use of a strong ICT infrastructure.
In times past, there was the misconception of viewing the smart city concept as being unnecessarily expensive and thus only applicable for the western world. One major aim of this article therefore, is to show that Africa more than any other part of the world, urgently need to take advantage of the potentials that smart city technologies hold in assisting the continent to bridge the huge socio-economic and infrastructural gap with the rest of the world.
One, all the challenges for which smart city technologies were designed and developed to meet are more pronounced in Africa than in any other part of the world. In other words, if it is energy, Africa suffers from inadequate power more than any part of the word.
Two, the huge socio-economic and infrastructural gap between Africa and the rest of the world calls for the use of proven technologies to radically intervene or assist in bridging these gaps especially in the areas healthcare, energy, education, environment, transportation, security and others.
Abidakun is a Smart City Consultant.