AFRICANGLOBE – Earlier in the week, a ranking from the Intelligent Community Forum positioned Nairobi as the only African city to be shortlisted in the top 21 intelligent cities list for the year 2015, this is the second time that Nairobi has been selected. However, the East African city did not make the top 7 list.
Intelligent communities, according to the forum, are “those which have – whether through crisis or foresight – come to understand the enormous challenges of the broadband economy, and have taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in it.” The ranking is computed based on innovation, education and technology in solving problems in the community.
Nairobi Has Rudiments Of Transformation
Louis Zacharilla, Co-founder at Intelligent Community Forum, says Nairobi has the fundamental rudiments that can transform all facets of society.
“We look at the workforce and we ask ourselves and the community, whether the workforce is using information and knowledge to create the type of economy that will lead people into the middle class. We then also look at innovation, whether the local government for example, or private businesses are using technology and broadband to make citizens’ life easier. We also look at innovation to see if it’s part of the culture. For example, is there a creative culture? Are people thinking about new ideas,” Zacharilla was quoted as saying.
Additionally, a video from the intelligence community website provides more insight into the process of selecting the shortlisted cities.
“In October a group of academic analysts selected the smart 21 communities of the year. Global examples of communities poised to succeed in the 21st century, since then these 21 have completed detailed questionnaires on their challenges and accomplishments; an independent research company has analyzed that data and narrowed the list of 21 to just seven,” the video informs.
Nairobi Doing Well In Financial Inclusion
In Kenya, some of the innovative projects include the use of mobile money to pay fees by the Nairobi county government, thus slashing payment inefficiencies and introducing a layer of transparency over the whole process.
Also, several innovation and incubation centres have been integrated with the City’s urban culture. These include iHub, 88MPH, and university innovation centres, which have become the breeding ground for new business ideas.
Finally, Nairobi fared favourably in digital inclusion, hence its placement on the list. Zacharilla noted that the selected cities demonstrated progress in creating a connected society.
However, the city did not make it to the next round of the competition as the top 7 list was dominated by the United States with three communities: Arlington County, Columbus and Mitchell. Others came from four different nations: Ipswich, Australia; New Taipei City, Taiwan; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Surrey, Canada.
Of these seven cities, four are on the Top 7 list for the first time. These are Mitchell, New Taipei City, Rio de Janeiro and Surrey.
“Each is ‘revolutionary’ in its own way, and each has planned its future in a way that is consistent with its cultural identity, while using universally available digital tools and broadband technology,” Lou Zacharilla commented.
In June, the final annual awards program will hold in Toronto, where the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year will be unveiled.
By: Emmanuel Iruobe