June 29, 2021
SEOUL – Today WeGO held its first event related to the Africa Smart Cities Network (AFSCN) to explore the challenges and opportunities for digital transformation in light of the continent’s rapidly growing urban population. The AFSCN Seminar was viewed by over 100 participants from 40 countries and sought to secure support for a network focusing on charting a roadmap for the sustainable development of cities, towns, and villages in Africa.
Opening the event, WeGO’s Secretary General Kyong-yul Lee shared the background of the AFSCN initiative, the growing relevance of smart cities in Africa, and WeGO’s vision for working in the region. “WeGO is strongly committed to the development of smart cities in Africa. That’s why we established a Regional Office in Abuja last January. International collaboration and networking matter because smart city projects are not one-offs, but evolutionary. We need many friends and partners and we have to learn from each other.”
Smart Africa Alliance’s Director-General Lacina Koné highlighted the role of leadership in enabling the positive impacts of using technology to combat urban challenges. “Smart leadership is the type of leadership that can deal with the complexity of the ecosystem and the culture in addition to being able to synchronize inputs and outputs in the smart city space to produce socio-economic benefits for all,” he said during the opening session of the event.
The seminar also received high-level support from H.E. Yasmin Amri-Sued, Ambassador of Rwanda in Korea, and H.W. Thata Father Maphongo, Mayor of Gaborone, who delivered their congratulatory remarks on the initiative.
The second session featured experts from Smart Africa Alliance, the African Local Governments Academy of UCLG-Africa, Africa Smart Towns Network, and Code for Africa who presented their ideas for accelerating regional digital transformation through efforts on enhancing leadership, capacity building, regional cooperation, and citizen participation. The presenters closed the program with a panel discussion that focused on themes of digital government service delivery, sustainability, citizen participation, and critical success factors for smart city projects. WeGO will use the recommendations from the seminar to continue to refine the AFSCN concept and provide more activities for its members.
The AFSCN — envisioned as an open-ended network of city and other local governments across Africa — will serve as a platform to exchange knowledge and foster cooperation on smart city development through providing capacity building, research, and project support in the region.
Visit the AFSCN webpage to learn more about the initiative and see slides and recordings from the Seminar.