Barrister Adebayo Shittu, the Minister of Communications has said Nigeria needs smart cities that will link infrastructure and innovation to make cities more efficient, safer and conducive for all citizens.
Shittu was speaking at a news conference in Abuja at the unveiling of the Smart Cities Nigeria Summit scheduled to hold from the Aug. 8 to Aug. 9.
The summit, which is tagged: “Leveraging on solutions to improve efficiency of cities’’, will take a critical look at the level of preparedness and solutions necessary for a sustainable smart cities initiative for the country.
Shittu said that the summit would be an opportunity to demonstrate and scale up Nigeria’s IT innovations and how to link physical infrastructure to deliver business and for public benefit.
He, however, noted that the country had some challenges in the area of critical infrastructure, non availability of constant power supply and ineffective Broad Band penetration and affordable data services.
According to him, the summit will also offer huge business opportunities for providers of smart cities technologies to exhibit their solutions and products to all levels of government.
“Our world is becoming more globalised, interconnected and intelligent. The systems and technologies that underpin so much of how the world works are smarter.We live in a time of unprecedented advances in every sector of human endeavour. In the ICT industry of developed economies alone, we are seeing the coming of age of a whole new generation of intelligent systems and technologies, more powerful and accessible than ever before”, he said.
“Smart cities summit is a conscious effort by government working with the private sector and all other stakeholders. It will help to forge a public private partnership to develop scalable, replicable and measurable solutions that will make our cities and citizens smarter“.
The minister said that the government had put in place policies to be able to tackle the challenges in the sector.
He said that the policies include the Nigeria ICT Roadmap 2017 to 2020, the National Strategic Plan from 2016 to 2024, the Broad Band Policy and the New Power Sector Reforms.
He said that the smart cities would make existing cities and villages more efficient and effective, using technology available at the disposal of the citizens.
Shittu said that to encourage healthy competition among cities and states in the country, the ministry in collaboration with its partners and Afritex Initiative would soon launch in “Smart City Challenge’’.
He said the smart city challenge would encourage states and local governments take revolutionary steps to upgrade to the level of digital technology.
Barrister Shittu revealed that ministers in several African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa which had already keyed into the programme had indicated interest to share personal experiences after hosting similar events in their countries.
He called on all stakeholders to plan and prepare toward an effective and fruitful summit as this would be a yearly event.
The summit, which was initially scheduled to hold from June 27 to June 28, has been rescheduled to hold on August 8 and August 9.