Nairobi (pictured), the capital city of Kenya, has been named the most-intelligent city in Africa for the second year in a row. According to the United States-based Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) think tank, Nairobi has made strides to compete on the global stage by way of using broadband and other emerging technologies to boost its economic status.
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The ICF unveiled its listing in January, but Nairobi will not be among the seven world finalists for the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year award program held by the group.
Of the 21 hubs nominated for the award, Kenya’s largest city is the only African city listed.
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According to the Intelligent Community Forum, “intelligent communities” are those that have taken “conscious steps” to create an economy that can prosper in the “broadband economy.” The group has recently released its latest rankings, recognizing the achievements of communities that have built inclusive, prosperous economies on a basis of information and communication technologies.
Intelligent Community Forum co-founder Robert Bell says: “We see a strong foundation being put into place [in Nairobi]: sensible, pro-growth government policy, a more diversified economy, and an innovation ecosystem of startups, international companies, and universities.
“Nairobi certainly has the opportunity to build an exciting future for its citizens, businesses, and institutions.”
The ICF gave high praise to Nairobi in its community profile as well:
This municipal county of 4 million has been identified by A.T. Kearny as one of two sub-Saharan cities likely to achieve developed status within 20 years. If the prediction proves true, it will mark a sharp positive turn at the end of a very long road.
After its independence in 1964, Kenya gradually declined into a kleptocracy committed to embezzling public funds for personal gain. Nairobi stood out as one of most-corrupt cities in East Africa.
In 2007, it represented 60 percent of Kenyan GDP and grew its economy 6 percent, while nearly two-thirds of its population lived in slums. A national movement for multi-party democracy began in the late-1980s and accelerated through two tumultuous decades to culminate in approval of a new constitution in 2012. By creating the foundation of civil society, it became one of several trends building a better future for Nairobi.
The finalists for the 2015 Intelligent Community Of The Year Award are: Arlington County (U.S.), Columbus, (U.S.), Ipswich (Australia), Mitchell (U.S.), New Taipei City (Taiwan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Surrey (Canada).