South African Smart Cities: Tapping into Intelligent Urban Spaces. in the last decade, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) has already shown how powerful of a tool data is. In developing countries like South Africa to address crucial information needs. In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined his vision for a South African smart city in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Subsequent SONAs further emphasised plans for smart city development, sparking discussions about enhancing data collection, facilitating information flow, and engaging the public.

South African Smart Cities Framework (SCF)

Developed by the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG), the SCF aims to provide stakeholders with streamlined information and a unified decision-making framework for smart city development that guides municipalities, government entities, the private sector, and civil society toward building smart cities in South Africa.

The Digital Divide: A Stubborn Challenge

The IoT market in smart cities was valued at $148.6 billion in 2022, projected to reach $931.5 billion by 2032. The market driven by the demand for efficient city operations and sustainable development.

The digital divide refers to the gap between those with access to modern ICT and those without. While affordability is often a concern. Factors like skills and confidence also contribute to this gap, leaving many digitally illiterate. Just as literacy was vital in the industrial revolution, digital literacy is now essential in contemporary society.

IoT enables data collection and analysis, improving urban infrastructure. Traffic management, energy consumption, and public safety are basic requirements. Its integration within urban frameworks signifies a significant leap toward realising the vision of smart, connected cities.

A Takeaway on Smart Urbanism in and for Africa

“The unique challenges inherent in African cities demand a reframing of the “norm” of smart urbanism to ensure true transformation through technology. – University of Cape Town (UCT) Professor Nancy Odendaal

Addressing the contradictions in African smart cities is a vital step in our journey. We must differentiate African cities from the broader smart city narrative, as the context and challenges are unique;

…true transformation through technology lies in empowering individuals in their daily lives. As She underscored the role of technology in everyday decision-making for disadvantaged communities, and the influence of networks that connect individuals at the margins with the more affluent.”

As a diverse organisation with global origins and regional expertise, MEB’s primary emphasis lies in smart construction and cutting-edge energy solutions.

We hold the view that intelligent infrastructure forms the bedrock for progress in urban settings. We leading to more efficient city functions, elevated living standards, and a dedication to environmental responsibility.

Contact our committed team for further insights into the future of operations.