Accra Mayor welcomes ICT grant
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
The Mayor of Accra, Alfred Nii Oko Vanderpuye, says the grant won by the city of Accra under the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge will help bring drastic improvement in the social and infrastructural development of the city.
Accra was one of four African cities among the 33 cities chosen to receive IBM Smarter City Challenge grants this year. IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge, launched last year, is a three-year, USD50 million initiative in which IBM sends teams of experts in a range of disciplines to help cities formulate strategies for improving the quality of life for their citizens.
African cities that earned grants this year included Accra, Ghana; Nairobi, Kenya; Rabat, Morocco and Tshwane, South Africa.
Mayor Vanderpuye told Biztechafrica that Ghana is on course to improve all its major cities, using ICTs as a driving tool.
Speaking in an interview at his office in the central business of Accra, the mayor, who describes himself as an ardent user of the latest IT gadgets, says he believed that the city of Accra was adjudged a Millennium City, based on the sustainable developments undertaken by the Government of Ghana and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly(AMA) since 2009.
These measures include the abolishing of the Basic Education School Shift System to improve the quality of education in all Government public schools in the city, he said. Under this system, the assembly, together with other Government agencies, provided new and furbished classroom blocks with the state of the art ICT laboratories to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in these schools.
Vanderpuye said the Assembly would not relent at all in its efforts to propel the developmental agenda of the city of Accra, using well tested and up to date ICTs.
He applauded the commitment shown by some financial institutions, including Zenith Bank of Ghana, for contributing desktop PCs and other accessories to support the Assembly’s work.
The Mayor disclosed that the city has spent about GH.C 12 million on improving ICT laboratories of some educational institutions in Accra.
Vanderpuye said he had met the IBM technological experts who were in the country as part of the Smarter Cities grant programme, to assist the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to harness ICTs to improve upon its Revenue Mobilization mechanism in the city.
Vanderpuye said in the interview that if all the city’s revenue collections were done through the use of ICT tools, there would be less corruption within the system thereby helping the Assembly to meet its annual financial quota.
He further pointed to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which was commissioned last year by the Vice President of Ghana, as one of the city’s projects that will be driven mainly on the back of ICT.
“With help from IBM experts we will be able to know the right kind of technological systems to install at all bus terminals thus ensuring a smooth operations of the system and also to maximize the city’s revenue collection,” he added.