What comes to mind when you think Smart Cities? Usually, people would associate the term with modernization and technology taking over. Instead, Smart cities could be defined as the innovation of urban areas that use a variety of digital solutions to improve infrastructure, modernize government services and facilities, increase accessibility, drive sustainability, and accelerate economic development. 

Smart cities go beyond the use of digital technologies for efficient resource use and reduced emissions. It means smarter urban transport networks, upgraded water supply and health facilities and more efficient ways to light energy and infrastructure. Additionally, it also entails a more interactive and responsive city administration, safer public spaces, and meeting the needs of the community.

Smart City Innovation Programme

Introducing the Smart City Strategy

The Smart City Rwanda Masterplan was introduced in 2017. Which is centered around inclusive digitalized solutions for Rwanda. This is to present new opportunities to develop the digital economy. However, also require new digital skills among the population. Since 2017, new technologies have been introduced and priorities have shifted. Therefore, GIZ has supported the GoR to reprioritize through a Human-centered Smart City workshop. Which took place in August 2021 with different stakeholders from various ministries. Three priority areas were identified during this workshop which focused on making digital smart city solutions inclusive:

Urban Green Recovery/ Urban Green Spaces

Mobility and Infrastructure

Digital Inclusion

The idea for this originated in identifying a need in the community and coming up with solutions powered by digitalization and inclusive innovations.

To further support the identification of priority smart city projects, the Digital Transformation Center particularly the Support Project to the Smart Africa Secretariat hired Rebelgroup to develop an addendum to the already existing strategy. Additionally the addendum focuses on 7 projects outlining context, project governance, use cases, financing models and indicative budgets for:

  1. Smart Waste Management
  2. City Service Portal
  3. Disaster Management and Incident Response
  4. Smart Monitoring of Urban Water Infrastructures
  5. Smart Transport Solutions for Kigali
  6. Smart Wi-Fi Hotspots
  7. Smart Cities and Communities Command and Control Center

Smart City Focus Group 

The Focus Group comprises of the Chief Digital Officers that are placed at different ministries in Rwanda. Overall, partners in the solution implementation process were involved. The government of Rwanda through the smart city masterplan came up with a plan to transform the country. From an agrarian economy into a knowledge-based economy. One of the ways to do this was through:

  • Sector ministers, local and private companies in collaboration with digital solutions focused on identifying and implementation. Digital Transformation center supported the development and managed  the solutions.
  • Summing up concept notes to resolve challenges to be implemented through workshops and bi-monthly meetings.

The demand for transportation services in Rwanda has been increasing due to urbanization. Henceforth the most common modes of public transport would be motors and buses. Multiple areas in Rwanda have experienced a form of limitation in regards accessing transport. ITMS is a system that is broken down into two phases. In November 2021, the process of phase 1 was introduced

    Intelligent Transport Management System

    Bus Schedule Locator

    Consists of having a real time bus schedule locators. Which allows passengers and drivers the benefit of knowing what time buses will arrive and depart, bus routes and seat availability.

    Bus Communications

    Consists of having a real time bus schedule locators. Which allows passengers and drivers the benefit of knowing what time buses will arrive and depart, bus routes and seat availability.

    Traffic Visualization

    Provides a sense on monitoring to avoid conflict with other buses.

    Operational Formalities

    Ensuring all buses drive according to the law, manage the operators’ fuel and use AI predictions for the data.

    In conclusion, the idea behind smart cities is to lead a developing community. While enhancing the beauty of coming up with inclusive innovative projects that can benefit different projects aimed at creating a smart city.

    Smart City Innovation Programme

    ” Fundamental to ‘becoming smart’ as a city, is discovering how to use data to improve city services and quality of life for citizens”- Andrew J Ginther

    The activities in the area of Smart Cities is part of the many projects we promote at the DigiCenter. If you would like to get to know more about our work, have a look at our solutions and events, and follow us on social media.

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