ZIMBABWE needs $1,5 billion to roll out the first phase of the smart cities programme which is aimed at improving transport networks, energy efficiency and urban management, a Cabinet Minister has said. The smart cities concept was proposed early last year as a means to decongest the country’s urban centres using information and communications technology (ICTs). Speaking by telephone on Friday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the smart city concept would begin in high density suburbs in Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo.
“The concept of smart cities is rooted in the implementation of user-friendly ICTs developed by major industries for urban spaces,” he said.
“The concept is expected to kick-start this year and will begin in Mbare (Harare), Sakubva (Mutare) and Mkoba (Gweru).
“Each of the suburbs is seeking at least $500 million to re-organise an area into an efficient urban area which is technologically advanced,” he said.
In December last year Cabinet approved the re-organisation of Harare, Mutare and Gweru suburbs first into smart cities .
Minister Moyo said Government believes that the smart cities initiative was progressive and resource efficient while protecting the environment from pollution.
He said Smart cities will promote new forms of governance and public participation.
“As devolution dawns, we want to promote new forms of governance and public participation, by making intelligent decisions at strategic levels. Becoming a smart city is no longer an option but a requirement that allows our cities to forcefully tackle current global challenges,” said Minister Moyo.
The smart cities concept was recently launched in Mutare where the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Ellen Gwaradzimba highlighted that the concept was the future for development.
The launch brought together different players ranging from Government officials, mayors and investors specialising in smart city service provision.
State-owned telecommunication company, TelOne also took time to exhibit their Neo Face Recognition system.
The face recognition system will see TelOne implementing red light violation cameras, speed cameras and public cameras across the country.
The technology, which recognises a face of the offender or suspected criminal at any given time when one is near a camera, will be installed at various traffic lights and airports.
TelOne has already engaged Home Affairs and Culture Heritage Ministry to start installing the system.–chroncile.co.zw