According to Wikipedia, A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic internet of things (IoT) to collect data and then uses insights gained from the data to manage assets, resources, and services efficiently. In simpler terms; A smart city is a city which uses ICT to enhance quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services to reduce cost, resource consumption, and increase contact between citizen and government.
The purpose of the smart city is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of the people by enabling local area development. The first accepted smart city in the world was Amsterdam in 1994. Currently, Barcelona ranks top in world smart cities with an inaugural smart city expo world congress held in 2011. Other countries that have tried to measure up are Singapore and MasdarCity (United Arab Emirates).
IS THERE A FUTURE FOR SMART CITY IN AFRICA?
Africa is divided into five regions, East Africa, South Africa, West Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa. These five regions have a combination of 54 countries altogether. Despite this large number of countries, it is pertinent to note that only 10 out of these countries are technologically advanced. From the top to the least are Mauritania, Seychelles, South Africa, Cape Verde, Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Cote d’Ivoire, Saint Tome, and Principe. It’s disheartening to note that Nigeria the supposed giant of Africa is not among this list with our large brand of telecommunications companies.
According to Inc, Countries without a 5G network, Improved Transport infrastructure, and Blockchain (cybersecurity) would be locked out of the Smart city dream. According to verdict; By 2030- The number of smart cities in the world with a population of over 10 million will grow to 43. By 2050- 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in smart cities.
Following these predictions above, the world has a minimum of 10years and a maximum of 30years to improve its technology and race up to meet the rest of the advanced world. If we follow the minimum year span, we can be sure that the top ten technology advanced countries would meet up to the standard as the strict criteria under which they were chosen proves that already. If we follow the maximum year span given, other countries behind would be able to meet up because, the likes of technology upgrade like Bank verification numbers (BVN) can keep a tidy record of their citizens. With sim registration, they can keep track of the number of citizens that are mobile and can access internet facilities.
Yes, Africa has a future of smart cities but we might take a longer period than the rest of the world due to some underlying issues like bad governance, reading culture, soft skills, poverty, and backward mentality which needs urgent and prompt solutions for Africa to join the rest of the world in the league of smart cities.
Princewill Gbemisola is a graduate of English Education from the Tai Solarin University of Education. She is a 21st-century Teacher and a passionate writer on Education and life experiences.