Nigeria seeks Foreign Investors for Smart Cities Project, Plans Summit in June

A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate ICT and Internet of Things (IoT) technology in a secured fashion to manage a city’s assets

The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, says Nigeria is set to hold a smart cities’ summit in June as part of efforts by the Federal Government to develop ICT sector in the country.

Shittu disclosed this in an interview with NAN on the sideline of the Transform Africa Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, an ICT conference focused on development of smart cities.

He added that the plan was to replicate the unparalleled ICT transformation of Rwanda in Nigeria, said the “Smart Cities Nigeria 2017 Summit” was scheduled for June 28 and 29.the initiative aims at leveraging technology solutions to improve efficiency of cities.

Rwanda which is spearheading the initiative has rolled out a number of developments such as WiFi in public areas, including public transport vehicles, as well as cashless payment systems in public transport.

Currently, the initiative is backed by 18 African countries while more nations including Nigeria are expected to join. While explaining further on the Smart Cities Summit, Shittu said though Nigeria was starting late but steadily, he noted that we have some delays within the government operations we ought to have unleashed some of these ideas in the Nigerian scene more than eight months ago. In consonance with our desire to pursue all initiative in the ICT transformation including smart cities we have planned a summit.

He stated that government is seeking foreign investments into the country’s ICT sectors to fast-track the digital transformation agenda in the country and he had spoken with some foreign investors to that effect. He affirmed that the privilege of speaking with a lot of foreign investors persuading them to come to Nigeria, is because Nigeria offers a lot of advantage in terms of having a huge population in West African continent. Which simply means that there is a huge market and any investor who comes will never regret.

Shittu stated that when he went to Rwanda four months ago he had spoken with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Strive Masiyuwa, Chairman and founder of Econet Wireless, as well as Korean Telecommunications and others, and put in application for them to bring in smart towers to Nigeria, adding that the process was still ongoing. And “he had renewed our bid for them to come and invest in solar based tower stations and I am confident that once they come, it is going to be a leap jump towards having enough infrastructure for the steady progress of ICT,” he said.

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