Ericsson’s 2016 smart city index ranks Johannesburg first in Africa

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South Africa’s Johannesburg is the highest ranked city on the African continent in Ericsson’s Networked Society City Index 2016. The African city had slipped few places down the index that measures both sustainable urban development and ICT maturity in 41 cities around the world. By Staff Writer

The 2016 index ranks Johannesburg 35th out of 41 cities, ahead of Egypt’s Cairo at 37 and Nigeria’s Lagos which was sitting at number 40. There are no other South Africa or Nigerian cities that appears in the 2016 index lists.

Ericsson believes that although starting at a low level, Johannesburg and Lagos are progressing in all ICT dimensions of the index which includes infrastructure, affordability, and usage.

The report stated that ICT infrastructure in Johannesburg is developing rapidly, and the municipality is investing in new infrastructure to ensure affordable high-speed broadband throughout the city.

“Today, Johannesburg’s relative strength lies in its mobile broadband quality, which is above the index average,” Ericsson said in the report.

A number of actions are essential for cities to go beyond smart cities of today and become more sustainable: including ICT as a basic infrastructure in the investment plans; creation of enabling regulatory environments that encourage the adoption of ICT; holistic approaches to integrating ICT across various sector planning, such as transport, energy and public safety; and collaboration between cities.

“Although Lagos faces several challenges related to ICT infrastructure, the results for internet usage and electronic payments are better, but still remain well below the index average,” Ericsson said.

“UN-Habitat estimates that 70 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban areas by 2050. Many smart city initiatives to date have mainly used ICT to optimize existing systems and behaviors, for example, intelligent transport,” said Erik Kruse, head of Ericsson Networked Society Lab.

”Instead, cities need to rethink existing structures to fully grasp the potential of ICT to make sure that “smart” is in fact sustainable. The future Networked Society city is characterized by resiliency, collaboration, participation and mobility, which are essential for ensuring our cities are attractive, sustainable and vibrant places.”

The index ranked Stockholm as the leading smart city in the world, ahead of London, Copenhagen, Singapore and Paris.

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