Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Safe City Summit in Nairobi – Ensuring the security of citizens will eventually go beyond surveillance and response, but could move to actual crime prevention.
Professor Bitange Ndemo former permanent secretary of Kenya’s ministry of information and communication, believes that big data analytics is the next big step in enabling safe cities in Africa.
“A few years ago the idea of smart cities was a dream for Africa,” he says. “But we went ahead, beginning to lay fibre optic cables throughout the country and the city.
“Later, because of the series of crimes that we experienced, government decided to invest in cameras throughout the city.
“Because of that, crime came down, because we were able to increase visibility on the movement of vehicles,” Prof Ndemo adds.
“But even prior to that we had decided to create new city, and wanted to make the city that every your Africa country will look at and begin to work in that direction.”
This is entirely achievable, he says, because of the growth that Africa is experiencing. “Africa is growing – we don’t have legacies like developed countries.; so we are able to build cities that are safe for citizens.”
The Nairobi project is not completed yet, Prof Ndemo says. “We need to build capacity to analyse the data that is being collected. That will allow us to enhance the safety of citizens.
“Big data analytics is a key point. We have this big data; now we need to analyse it.”