Africa Smart Cities Investment Summit: Paving the Way for Smart and Sustainable Urbanization

Part five of a five -part series on ‘A Transformative Week for Africa’s Sustainable Future’ featuring the week of September 4, 2023 

In a world experiencing an unprecedented surge in urbanization, the African continent stands at the forefront, poised to welcome a staggering 760 million urban dwellers by 2030 — a 50% increase from 2015. With the unfolding of this phenomenon, the imperative to harness the power of technology and innovation has reached unparalleled heights. The inaugural Africa Smart Cities Investment Summit held from September 6 to 8, 2023, in Kigali, Rwanda, brought together visionaries, experts, and leaders under the overarching theme of “Leadership for Smart Cities.” This landmark event, attended by over 1,000 delegates and featuring insights from more than 80 speakers, provided a valuable platform for several discussions and insights into the future of African cities. 

Among the focal points of the summit were discussions centered on themes such as

  • Investing in Homes of the Future for All 
  • Urban Integration for Universal Health Coverage in African Smart Cities 
  • Harnessing the Power of Geospatial Data and Urban Dynamic Mapping for Smarter and Inclusive City Development
  • The Future and Dignity of Work
  • Connecting the Unconnected  

These discussions underscored the pressing need for investment in areas such as transportation, waste management, and service delivery, especially critical as countries embark on the journey of developing smart cities. The forum fervently urged investors to channel resources into scaling up smart city solutions, while leaders and decision-makers were encouraged to champion the creation of smart cities.

This visionary approach seeks to alleviate congestion, stimulate innovation, and promote sustainable urbanization. During the summit, Dalberg moderated a discussion on “The Future and Dignity of Work: Building an Inclusive 21st Century Workforce” on September 2, 2023. Co-panelists included Khathu Mashau from Nunnovation Africa Foundation, Mustafa AL Mahdi, from the Arab Regional Office, John Kimani from ALU, and Jisas Lemasagarai from GSMA Digital Utilities. This discussion shed light on the ever-evolving nature of the future of work, emphasizing its rapid transformation. It highlighted the critical importance of constructing an inclusive 21st-century workforce capable of adapting to these major changes. The session underscored the significance of investment in education, the removal of barriers to employment, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion as key drivers of progress in this dynamic landscape.  The discussion shed light on an understanding of the workplace and how it might attract and retain the best talent.  

Dalberg’s contributions in the field of smart cities and urban development are characterized by our ability to adopt an interdisciplinary approach. Our solutions are grounded in principles of inclusivity, sustainability, and resilience, supported by data-driven strategies and a commitment to global financing. Our extensive experience in designing climate-responsive solutions for cities worldwide positions us to effectively build urban resilience. We specialize in identifying and developing innovative investment opportunities for urban development, facilitating progress. Additionally, we advocate for data-driven decision-making, promoting digital infrastructure and urban service digitization. 

The Africa Smart Cities Investment Summit serves as evidence of collective efforts of the continent to create smarter, more sustainable, and inclusive urban centers across Africa. Through informed discussions and innovative solutions, this event laid the foundation for a future where technology and innovation play a pivotal role in shaping urban landscapes.

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