Dare Ogunlade

West African governments are showing increased interest in smart cities technology and the benefits they can offer citizens, says Cisco.

Speaking on the sidelines of Cisco Connect 2014 in South Africa, Dare Ogunlade, Cisco’s General Manager for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, said that levels of ICT maturity vary across the region, but that there is growing interest in the benefits smart cities technologies can offer.

“It is new, but we are seeing growing interest from regional and local authorities. They are showing they are not afraid to embrace change,” said Ogunlade. Some of the areas where local authorities stand to benefit most from smart cities technologies are in revenue collection and safety and security, he says.

Noting that smart cities systems depend on connectivity and cloud adoption, Ogunlade said good progress was being made in both across the region. “More work is needed to assure reliable internet access, but in recent years we have seen an upsurge in cloud adoption,” he said.

In addition, effective smart cities depend of the breaking down of data siloes and more effective collaboration between departments and regional authorities – something that is taking place across West Africa. “In Nigeria, for example, we are seeing the various arms of government increasingly willing to collaborate for the greater good. For example, we recently saw various authorities collaborating on an effective Ebola action plan. Now, local authorities and governments in the region are recognising the need for collaboration.”

With a collaborative mindset, stable and ubiquitous access and the right technologies in place, we will be on track to a smarter Africa, he says.

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