Non-profit construction industry representative body, the Botswana Women in Construction (BOWICO), has urged government to use data effectively in the establishment of smart cities and thereby help to create ‘a night economy’.
This after the government announced its intention to convert the country’s second capital Francistown and the resort town Maun into smart cities
Botswana looks to model the smart cities initiative on that used by the UK, Canada and Estonia.
BOWICO spokesperson Thandeka Palai said inclusive redesigning of the country’s cities using data will help introduce and sustain a night economy.
“Smart cities are a gateway to a safe and efficient night economy and vice versa. The night economy is essential for job creation, revitalisation of public spaces, promoting citizen security and sense of belonging and fostering tourism.”
Deputy Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Halakangwa Mbulai said a smart city is attainable through integration of digital technology, adding that the government shares the vision to invest in improved digital systems.
Mbulai said, “Our vision for a Botswana which leads the continent emanates from the belief that accelerating digital transformation through digitising the industry, integrating ecosystems and sharing the skillset to the region and the rest of the continent, and in turn creating regional markets for digitisation.”
Botswana Innovation Hub’s Director of Facilities and Property Management, Mathiba Makalo said the common trend about smart cities is data, imploring the nation to start working on building blocks for smart cities with the available resources.
“Let’s for now speak to things that we have control of, such as smart engineering and planning, that can prepare us for what is coming in the future,” said Makalo who added that there is a lot more to building a smart city than simply connecting smart infrastructure.
He said the communities will also have to adopt e-learning, among other initiatives.