The world’s population is on a fast-track from rural to city living. With around 55% already residing in urban areas, this figure is expected to rise to 70% by mid-century. Cities may be the engines of growth and account for more than 80% of global GDP, but they also guzzle almost 80% of the world’s energy and emit around 60% of greenhouse gases.
According to Tracy-Lee Behr, Portfolio Director at leading global events company dmg events, smarter cities can alleviate many of Africa’s urban challenges, by delivering a higher quality of life and enabling economic growth through Internet of Things, technology and creative thinking.
With a focus on advancing Africa’s cities through expert collaboration, many of the continent’s smartest minds will gather at the sixth annual African Smart Cities Summit on 8 June 2022 to unpack Africa’s readiness to adopt smart methodologies for implementation to current infrastructure.
Taking place at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, the conference will be co-located with The Big 5 Construct Southern Africa (previously known as the African Construction Expo) and Totally Concrete Expo.
“The African Smart Cities Summit welcomes leading industry experts to explore challenges, lessons learned and best practices through a series of panel discussions and real-life case studies, to help drive smart city projects on the continent towards successful fruition,” says Behr.
Big industry names attending the conference are construction materials group PPC Cement, infrastructure technology and people solutions firm NEXTEC, leaders in electronic solutions Interfile and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Njombo Lekula, MD South Africa at PPC Cement says: “In a rapidly changing world, PPC has never been more cognisant of the need to innovate and evolve. PPC respects the eco-system and as such, we conduct our business in a smarter and inclusive approach, which derives mutually shared value for us and our stakeholders. For us at PPC, this is part of our purpose of providing a better quality of life.”
The company recently launched their Building Africa Report 2022 and will be highlighting some of their key findings at the conference.
With cement being a carbon intensive material, the report addresses the challenge of decarbonisation, as it looks at ways to enhance efficiency by designing more efficient buildings and extending their lifetimes, and by exploring cement alternatives such as hybrid cement and timber.
For early-risers, PPC Cement has joined forces with NEXTEC to host an Investment Breakfast on the morning of the conference (6:30am start), which is aimed at facilitating constructive dialogue around investment for Smart Cities across the continent.
“Cities, and the way they are managed, are key contributors to climate change,” says Sean Bennett, Group Executive at NEXTEC. “In particular, buildings and transport are large contributors to global CO2 emissions. The VIP Investment Breakfast will bring together professionals, investors, industry experts and suppliers from across the public and private sectors to discuss new and existing investment opportunities for future sustainable African smart cities, so that we can begin to roadmap the best way forward to meet these challenges head-on.”
The breakfast is being officiated by Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, Head of Investment and Infrastructure Office at The Presidency, South Africa.
As a provider of strategic programme development support and long-term green, and concessionary finance, DBSA says it is imperative that the industry takes a sustainable development approach in building its smart cities.
Patrick Ntsime, Acting Head: Metros, Intermediate Cities & Water Boards at DBSA says: “The African Smart Cities Summit serves as the ideal platform for all role players within the industry to draw collectively on latest technological innovations and funding solutions and build new collaborative networks that will enable greater long-term efficiency and smarter service delivery.”