Smart Cities & Buildings

Interview with Yolanda Mabuto

Founding Director & CEO of Divaine Growth Solutions

Can you tell me a bit about your background and your current role?

I am the founder of Divaine Growth Solutions an organization in the energy sector. My background stems from Eskom South Africa in the Project Management Sector, I am involved in the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities of Southern Africa, BRICS Energy and Green Economy Member and the World Business Angel Investment Forum International Partner, currently the Chairperson of South Africa Institute of Electrical Engineer’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Chapter. I am very passionate about seeing the sector transform through innovation.

What more do you think needs to be done to promote the development of Smart Cities in African countries?

Countries ought to embrace smart cities through proper development of suitable and efficient frameworks that aligns to the countries strategic plans. One of the things that will ease of fast track the implementation of smart cities is driving policies as the solution to the rapid urbanization growth. African policymakers are very much aware of the role of technology in spurring the development of urban cities, therefore, this should be driven as an urgent agenda in transforming cities. Leaders also need to adapt to the digital change and include smart cities into their global strategy and smart city approach to improve quality of life. Digital transformation, continuous improvement, customer services and clear communication should be the key to entrench and apply internet of things and big data.

What will be a successful smart city model for Africa in your opinion?

Africa needs business models that are suitable for financing innovative mechanisms and a range of social measures to promote renewables and energy efficiency. The models should be encompassing of cultures and social capital as well as resilience capital.

Alignment and clear departmental integration, business intelligence and positive social impact Investment confidence.

How shall African leaders change their “smart city policy toolkit”?

They should nurture Innovation through implementing pilot projects to allow cities to share innovative ideas, ensuring proper policy incentives in place, based on a long-term perspective. Policies should also consider gender lens policies that allow women to add value to the smart cities generation.

What are the continent`s advantages for the development and implementation of successful smart city models and projects?

Africa’s rapid urbanization provides opportunities for new developments for the cities and their citizens. African cities have an opportunity to build updated services and facilities from the ground up. Africa is a resilient country with strong social capital.

How do you foresee the Smart cities in Africa in the next 5 years?

There will surely be some improvement is some African countries with regards to development. Africa has a huge opportunity to address the new challenges of urbanization. There is still some work to be done and covid19 played a role in slowing some development in smart cities. Private – Public Partnerships also play a huge role in developing smart cities because without funding, countries cannot develop smart cities. Countries need to effectively encourage private sector participation.

If Africa can quickly adapt legal and regulatory frameworks to encourage and protect innovation in the power sector to speed of transition of the energy markets the dream of smart cities could be realized sooner.

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