Rise of African Megacities

Nice article highlighting just how big things are getting, and the key tech drivers to more efficient development:

“By 2025, more than 70 percent of the continent’s population is projected to be living in cities.”

A megacity is defined as an urban area with at least 10 million residents. I’m pretty sure Gauteng’s combo of Joburg and Tshwane fits this bill. A quick check tells me that their combined population in 2011 was 9.6million. No doubt the 10 mil threshold will be passed soon, if not already.

Our African megacities can’t be modelled on New York and London. With facts like these, it’s clear our most urgent challenges are not the same.

  • Only 40 percent of the African urban population has access to adequate sanitation facilities and quality social services.
  • More than 50 percent of the African urban population lives in slums.
  • Unemployment, especially in South Africa at 26.6% last year, is also a a defining influence on how our cities work.

This article outlines some areas where the ground is fertile, so to speak, for IoT innovations. Some of the areas include:

  • transport infrastructure
  • social services infrastructure (eg delivery of medical supplies)
  • agricultural innovation
  • SME and entrepreneur support
  • smart grids and transmission of core resources (water, energy etc)

Vital to this all is leadership, vision and of course, the participation of the everyday citizen. (Or could we have a successful smart city without citizen buy in? I wonder).

What do you think?


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