Nairobi only African town on ‘Intelligent Cities’ list

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A new ranking by the Intelligent Community Forum has positioned Nairobi as the only African city to be shortlisted in the top 21 intelligent cities list.

The list sees Kenya’s capital city being named as one of the Smart21 intelligent communities in the world for the year 2015.

The forum describes an ‘intelligent community’ as “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.”

According to ITWeb Africa, the rating is based on three key factors.

“The ranking takes into consideration innovation, education and technology in solving problems in the community,”  states ITWeb.

According to Louis Zacharilla, co founder at Intelligent Community Forum, Nairobi has what it takes to 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,” Zacharilla told ITWeb Africa.

“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,” said Zacharilla.

Some of the innovative projects include the use of mobile money to pay fees by the Nairobi county government.

This has cut down on inefficiency and introduced transparency of where the fees are channeled.

“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 posed.

The several innovation and incubation centres have been integrated with the City’s urban culture.

Incubation hubs such as iHub, 88MPH, and university innovation centres have become the breeding ground for new business ideas.

Digital inclusion was another factor that helped to ensure Nairobi’s placement on the list. Zacharilla said the cities that were selected demonstrated progress in creating a connected society.

Data collected from different cities was analysed by an independent quantitative research company and formed the basis for the rankings at Smart21 and Top7.

This is the second time that Nairobi has been selected. The forum will use the Smart21 list to pick the top 7 intelligent communities on January 22.

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