African cities need to be more liveable by 2040 – report
AS AFRICA’S population is set to double to about 1 billion people by 2040 African cities need to be more affordable, connected and liveable in order to be “smart cities”.
Leading experts have shared insights on what it would take to design and build smart and sustainable cities fit for Africa’s future.
According to a World Bank report released earlier this year, Africa’s cities were growing in population, and have a critical role to play in economic growth.
The report said that Africa’s urban population stood at 472 million currently, with 187 million people expected to be added to urban areas by 2025. The report said the number would double over the next 25 years.
William Johnston, regional director for structures at WSP Africa, a professional services firm, said although improving conditions would deal with rapid populous migration to city centres, governments and city planners had to be on the alert.
“To succeed in their planning and development efforts, there needs to be a split strategy and focus,” Johnston said. “The first focus will naturally be on securing much needed infrastructure and services.
“Concurrent to this, however, significant focus also needs to be placed on future planned upgrades and/or new builds that will be smart, sustainable and thereby future proof in the long-term.”
Riaan Graham, sales director for Ruckus sub-Saharan Africa, a broadband services provider, said the growth of connected devices and their potential impact would result in increased awareness of benefits smart cities could offer.
“A truly smart city is one that is focused on integrating technology to interconnect different governmental departments to create a single infrastructure that provides better service delivery, improved municipal services, infrastructure enhancements and utilising real-time monitoring systems for the betterment of all citizens, to name just a few things, Graham said.
“For me, this interconnectedness should exist seamlessly across at least the top six components to designing a smart city, including, smart energy, smart transport, smart data, smart infrastructure, smart mobility and smart IoT.”
According to SquidNet, a firm consisting of a team of experts who provide coverage on IoT, smart cities had become a critical necessity because of increasing urbanisation.
According to ICT research company, International Data Corporation, South Africa is the leader when it comes to smart city technology in Africa.
Johannesburg skyline. South Africa is the leader when it comes to smart city technology in Africa.