Smart Cities: Mastercard, Business Leaders Set to Transform Nigeria's Cities

By Solola Olawale Sefiu

By definition, Smart City (SM) is that city that is efficient and functional such that the human beings residing in it can conveniently satisfy their social, economic, physical and total well-being with less complication in all respect to their living condition with regards to the use of digital elements to improve man's day-to-day transaction. To that extent, for any city to be considered smart, it must and should have the characteristic features and components of that, which makes it a smart city thereby differentiating it from a Traditional City, i.e. Normal City, where things are done with manual mentality. Any Smart City by design must also have the features of other known city concepts to make it a complete city.

For any city to be considered smart in all ramifications, it must continuously be managed or administered using sustainability concept. An administrative tool defined as "development that meets the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs." What then are features of a smart city? For any city to be considered smart, it must have the following characteristic features: cleanliness, efficient multi-model transport facilities, 24-hour power supply, short-time response to emergency situation, clean water, efficient refuse collection disposal and management, ICT Compliant in all facilities and Services, e-library system, efficient and reliable security system, efficient health and education facilities, affordable housing, smart solutions for all issues, cultural vibrancy, total inclusiveness, preserved functional open spaces, parks, playground, recreational facilities and walkable localities, friendly and cost effective governance, better traffic flow and low pollution, effective well planned environment based on the city's blue print - Master Plan.

When compared to a Traditional City, there is a marked difference where most of the items listed are not available and where they are available, performance is at very low level or at best operated using crude or manual method thereby resulting in high cost of services. In a Traditional City, detailed information about business environment is still scarce. There is water shortage, dirty environment, high emission, intermittent power outage, unfriendly environment, dependence on one or two mode of transportation resulting in slow moving traffic and several man-hour loss and low life expectancy, diseases resulting from planlessness and environmental decay, high cost of governance and provision of essential facilities and services. Most cities of the developed world are to a large extent smart. In spite of this, government of these countries are not relenting in providing better services that will make life more livable. Thus, people living in better planned cities tend to live better and life expectancy increases over time.