Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati said: “The bigger picture is that cities can become the engine-rooms that will drive Government’s National Development Plan objective of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030.”
One potential Microsoft CityNext customer, the Western Cape Government, is investing in more modern technology capabilities to help it operate more efficiently and to give services that enable better interaction with its citizens.
Lance Williams, chief information officer of Western Cape Government, said that the ultimate beneficiaries of a more sophisticated technology infrastructure would be the citizens of cities, who would enjoy more responsive and transparent government services, many delivered online.
A key focus area for Microsoft CityNext is safety and security, not forgetting crisis management.
Many of the socio-economic programmes contained within Microsoft CityNext link to Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative, which was launched this year to help accelerate Africa’s economic development and to improve its global competitiveness by empowering African youth, entrepreneurs, developers and business.
“If we can work with cities to help small companies to succeed in the first 3-5 years of their lives, we will help grow job creation and economic development significantly. This will have a major impact on the well-being of cities and entire communities,” said Nyati.
Microsoft, he said, would also work with its network of solution partners to help cities transform their operations and infrastructure; engage their citizens and businesses; and accelerate innovation and opportunity.
“According to IDC’s Smart City Maturity Model, many cities are now in the first stages of implementing smart technology solutions as part of a 10- to 15-year path to realising full transformation potential. The result of ‘smart city’ initiatives will ultimately enable cities to attract businesses and citizens to build more vibrant city landscapes and competitive economies,” he says.