According to reports by Nigeria Communications Week, Nigerian Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, highlighted Nigeria’s intention to press forward with the development of smart cities in the country. Shittu, who gave a presentation on the proposed “Smart Cities Nigeria Summit”, scheduled to be held on the 8th -9th of August, 2017 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, said that although there is never a time to be fully ready for a smart city project, it remains critical process in the wheel of city urbanization and renewal.
Shittu emphasised that government’s view is that Nigeria is ready and eager to embark on the smart city process. He, however, addmitted that the continued urbanization of Nigeria will add more people to the urban population and invariably more challenges on the government to make Nigerian cities more efficient, safer and conducive for citizens.
According to a report by Sahel Standard, the Minister said that the federal government is committed to developing a smart city initiative in the country in order to promote technological and ICT development. He added that the smart city will make the technology and communication sector more user-friendly and effective for the people in changing the narrative.
Shittu, however, was quick to point out that Nigeria is currently wrestling with an infrastructure gap, caused by years of underinvestment, and an innovation gap caused by poor innovation performance in the business sector over the years. He also highlighted the importance of improving both, “By linking infrastructure and innovation, we increase the potential to help close both our infrastructure gap and our innovation gap”.
The Nigerian Smart Cty Initiative will look to bring together IT companies and government to provide the chance to team up to help advance smart city/smart infrastructure technologies and systems in Nigeria. It is an opportunity to demonstrate and scale up Nigeria IT innovations and to show how IT can be linked with the physical infrastructure to deliver business and public benefits.
Shittu said that the two-day multi-stakeholders international summit will take a critical look at the level of preparedness, unique challenges, and emerging solutions necessary for a sustainable smart city initiative for the country.
Additionally, the summit will offer huge business opportunities for providers of smart city technologies to exhibit and pitch their solutions and products to Federal, States and Local Governments top officials, and private real estate developers who are all expected to attend the summit.
“The ‘Smart Cities Summit Nigeria initiative is not intended to be a one-off summit. More elaborate technical stakeholders’ engagements will continue to take place with different sectors in the ICT ecosystem well after the summit. We will also continue to work with our partners to design and proffer practical steps and solutions that will assist the Federal Government in formulating a unified and robust National Policy that will have a corresponding implementable framework towards the Smart Cities Nigeria initiative,” concluded Shittu.