NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 –In the wake of Kenya’s recent oil discovery, Director-General of Kenya Vision’s 2030 Delivery Board Mugo Kibati has asserted that ICT will remain a key driver of the Vision 2030 goals.
Acknowledging that the news would undoubtedly transform the country Kibati said it would still take time before it benefits Kenya alluding to countries such as Uganda that still have not commercially sold its oil.
“That oil industry we are talking about will be enhanced by how we apply ICT because we are doing this in 2012. Let’s not lose focus. ICT is the way to go,” he said.
Kibati was speaking during a smart city workshop hosted by Ericsson that drew players from the public and private sectors to discuss ways of using ICT as a basis for urban development.
The current trend of rapid urbanization will be a major factor to contend with if Kenya is to successfully realize the Vision 2030 goals, Kibati added saying that it was necessary for the country to manage it going forward.
“We must urbanize smarter. For the last 30 years we’ve had urbanization in this country that has led to informal settlements because we have not had smart city development,” he said.
On a global scale, by 2050 when the world population is projected to be nine b
illion, 70 percent will be in cities on two percent of the earth’s surface.
Domestically, Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said by 2030, 50 percent of the Kenyan population will be urbanized, making it crucial to plan other major towns in the country to avoid more informal settlements from sprouting.
“When we develop Isiolo, Nakuru, or Mombasa we will look at those attributes that will make them smarter cities by moving most of the population from city centers to residential areas,” he noted.
On average $1 million is lost daily on traffic congestion in Nairobi which Ndemo highlighted as a consequence of poor urban planning.
Moving forward Kibati added that the idea of nuclear energy as a power source should not prematurely dismissed as Kenya’s demand could climb to between 30,000 and 40,000 megawatts by 2030.
To develop a smart (digital) city, Ericsson partners with private entrepreneurs and government to improve connectivity and inevitably impact sectors from health and transportation to security and climate and energy.
“We have a digital city in Johannesburg already. A digital city is about this network society, connected technology and collaboration between interested parties to benefit society in total,” Ericsson Country Manager Kenya , Craig Hosken explained.