Africa’s Bright Future: Experts to Discuss Smart City Solutions for the Continent

The 6th annual African Smart Cities Summit and co-located industry events take place this June

Smart cities are the future of urban development, using digital technologies to improve lives, optimise access to resources and fuel economic growth. By 2050, the World Economic Forum predicts that 7 out of 10 people will live in cities. Some 2.5 billion people will move to urban areas, and 90% of this trend will take place in Africa and Asia[i].

A truly smart city leverages technology in an intelligent manner to improve service delivery, reduce pollution, improve safety, and tackle a myriad of local challenges. The sixth annual African Smart Cities Summit, the continent’s only dedicated conference on smart city development, will highlight the potential of smart cities to solve many of Africa’s most pressing challenges, and opportunities.

“The African Smart Cities Summit will bring together the continent’s brightest minds to collaborate in advancing Africa’s cities, addressing the best practices and lessons learned in the field of smart city development,” says Tracy-Lee Behr, Portfolio Director at dmg events.

Taking place at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 28 June 2023, the African Smart Cities Summit will be co-located with Big 5 Construct Southern Africa, running from 27-29 June 2023, and will host top industry professionals through a series of panel discussions and real-life case studies to inspire successful smart city projects across the continent.

Designing resilient smart cities that allow urban populations to thrive will be the theme for this year’s Summit and attendees will witness how Africa can create cities that are far more efficient, resilient, and environmentally friendly, considering local needs, through the use of smarter and interoperable techniques, technologies, and ideas.

Victor Radebe, Co-Founder of the Mobility Centre for Africa (NPC) will open the Summit and says: “With the right strategies and investments in place, African smart cities can become beacons of innovation and progress for the continent and the world.”

Discover how transport and mobility are intertwined with wider social systems and structures, where smart mobility considerations include introducing low emission zones, urban tolls, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and the future of connected and autonomous vehicles, electromobility and personal mobility vehicles (PMVs). Electric motorcycle usage in Africa has increased from under five million in 2010 to an estimated 27 million in 2022, 80% of which is for commercial use[ii], adding to the narrative of smart mobility disruption on the continent.

Leadership will be high on the agenda at the Summit, as it has become obvious that advances in information and communication technology (ICT) are central for the transformation of cities into smart cities. Yet, it is the ability to apply ICT efficiently that defines whether a smart city will be resilient and sustainable. The leadership and decision-making for urban design and the built environment development is of utmost importance for any smart city.

Many African cities need improved digital infrastructure to support smart city technologies, such as high-speed broadband networks and reliable power supplies. A panel discussion by the eThekwini Municipality will examine the role of resilience in building smart cities and how to maintain infrastructure in the face of disasters.

Mike Salawou, Ag. Director of the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department, African Development Bank will present on Climate and COP27: Political Pressures & Investment Implications to ponder among other topics, the long-term investment opportunities in physical assets to achieve global net zero goals. It will take collective, consistent efforts to reach net zero and the Summit provides a unique platform to leverage the latest technological advances and funding solutions for the betterment of the continent.

Together we can build new networks that foster long-term efficiency and will create a more connected and sustainable urban environment for all.

Chuma Mbambo, Consultant: Smart Cities Programme, The World Bank and advisory board member to the African Smart Cities Summit agrees. “I am thrilled to attend the African Smart Cities Summit – a crucial event in Africa’s pursuit of creating future-proof cities that cater to diverse communities’ specific needs. This year’s programme promises a glimpse into the future of urban development, where innovation and sustainability are harmonised to transform the African socio-economic and spatial landscape. I cannot wait to witness the unveiling of groundbreaking solutions that will help us create inclusive and sustainable cities for generations to come,” Mbambo says.

Attendees will witness how Africa can establish cities that are efficient, resilient, environmentally friendly, and considerate of local needs through using smarter techniques and technologies.

“Connect with top industry players and uncover the smartest solutions for city-living in Africa. Registration to attend is now open,” Behr concludes.

[i] How can smart cities benefit emerging countries? – Developing Telecoms

[ii] Why Africa must speed up transition to e-mobility – The Standard (standardmedia.co.ke)

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