Cape Town has been named as one of the top 21 intelligent communities and is confident of making it into the top seven list.
The Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF), a New York-based think tank that researches and promotes the broadband economy, placed the city in the top 21 and will annouce the sevon finalists within the next few days. The winner will be named in May.
"We often underplay our achievements,² says Nirvesh Sooful, City of Cape Town CIO. "Cape Town and the Western Cape are actually doing really well compared with many of our international contemporaries with very limited resources.
"Our Smart City strategy, which aims to harness the power of ICT to ensure the development of the city and its citizens, is delivering returns. We are ensuring that the city has not only the necessary ICT infrastructure, but also the skills to operate in and excel in the knowledge economy."
Cape Town is the first African city to enter in the ICF awards' three-year history. Among other things, the adjudicators look for digital inclusion, effective marketing, knowledge workforce and broadband infrastructure. In addition to analysis of their submissions, each year's selection is guided by a theme. In 2008 the theme is sustainability.
The ICF invited communities to discuss the sustainability of their communities in three ways: self-sustaining programs, smart growth and "green" development. According to the ICF, the award is presented "to help communities understand the opportunities and challenges of the broadband economy, and to promote best practices in economic and social development".
Cape Town's confidence has been boosted by the imminent roll-out of the R400-million fibre optic network that will create about 250 000 jobs and reduce
the digital divide. This investment in infrastructure is in line with the city's vision of positioning Cape Town as an ICT hub and a destination where global companies can set up shop at a lower cost.
"For us to be recognized as one of the top 21 cities in broadband economy is quite an achievement if you consider that a number of first world cities did not make it on the list. Making the top seven would be a bonus and winning it would just be the cherry on top," says CITI's Viola Manuel.
The final stage of the award to be held in New York, will conclude with the announcement of the overall winner on 16 May during the annual Building the Broadband Economy Summit.
Waterloo, a Canadian city in the state of Ontario, is the current holder of the award.