In South Africa, the city of Kouga, located in the Eastern Cape, is developing a "smart city" project to create a sustainable model for its residents and their daily activities. To achieve this, the authorities are relying on cutting-edge technologies, particularly in terms of digitalization.
“Ovvio” is the new online platform being implemented in the city of Kouga in South Africa. In this municipality of 50,000 inhabitants, a smart city model driven by local authorities is on the way. According to Horacio Hendricks, the mayor of Kouga, the aim is to generate economic growth and competitiveness, job creation and growth in tourism, as well as improved power supply and internet connectivity.
The long-term goal of the initiative is to reduce the environmental footprint and decrease dependence on non-renewable energy sources through smart technology solutions. As part of its commitment to green energy and carbon reduction, the municipality has secured additional funding from its budget for the purchase of 1,000 LED (Light-Emitting Diode) streetlights that are deemed environmentally responsible and sustainable.
Covering an area of 2,970 square kilometers and located in the Eastern Cape, Kouga paved a 300-meter stretch of Woltemade Street with an asphalt mix containing approximately 700 kilograms of plastic. “The development of Africa’s first green road, incorporating plastic waste, which was inaugurated in Jeffreys Bay (municipality headquarters, ed.) in 2019 has increased the life of the roads and reduced maintenance costs while combating pollution and climate change,” explains Mayor Horacio Hendricks. Initiatives that will be better implemented thanks to the digitalization of public services.
Technology changes the game
According to Kouga’s mayor, Horatio Hendricks, a smart city consists of advanced technology accessible to most, if not all, residents, preparing for the concept of Industry 4.0. This fourth industrial revolution is a new way of organizing the means of production. It is an industry of the future still called “smart production” which asserts itself as the convergence of the virtual world through an industrial automation of digital design, management (operations, finance and marketing) of consumers who can communicate with the machines.
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In the meantime, most of the meetings and events are done by tele and videoconference. This contributes to the training of local officials in the use of virtual platforms. In addition, construction plan submissions and approvals have followed suit in recent months. Also, the proliferation of remote working in the age of Covid-19 has spurred a major rollout of fibre optics to more than 5,000 homes and businesses in Kouga, with the help of service providers Telkom, Herotel and Vodacom.