Monday, November 28, 2011

‘Smart govt improves citizens’ lives’

The latest report by Ericsson and Arthur D. Little’s Networked Society City Index which ranks cities in terms of their ability to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to benefit their citizens has revealed that smart government improves citizens’ lives.

The index extract made available to ITRealms Online by Media Relations manager, Ms Omasan Ogisi indicated that top-ranking cities like Seoul, Singapore and Stockholm gave their citizens some benefits of engaging a society as a whole.

The report added that London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing completed the top 10 ICT-based applications such as e-government and smart transport desirability to improve citizens’ lives, helping to overcome common challenges in urban environments.

ITRealms Online gathered that the second edition of Ericsson’s Networked Society City Index ranked 25 of the world’s largest cities according to their ability to transform ICT to social, economic and environmental benefits.

The top three cities in the index namely Seoul, Singapore and Stockholm, the report said, have successfully met many social, economic and environmental targets by making extensive investments in ICT.

According to the index, Singapore, for example, is aggressively driving innovation in e-health, and is a pioneer in traffic-congestion management, adding that Seoul is using ICT to realize many environmental benefits of high-tech initiatives.

The study also showed that several Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) cities, such as Sao Paulo and Delhi, have promising initiatives in place to rapidly close the socio-economic gap through multi-stakeholder ICT engagements.

Citing Sao Paulo as an instance, the report stated it has been awarded several national and international awards for its e-inclusion programmes, which highlight an awareness of the need for improving ICT literacy and the key role that it has in enabling further development.

In Delhi, the report stated that several promising initiatives aimed at leveraging ICT for the benefit of citizens are being put in place aggressively, citing an example of a multi-stakeholder project named ‘Eko,’ which enables low-value financial transactions to be completed using mobile phones or through retail outlets.

Eko, the report informed, serves over 1.3 million customers and processed USD 500 million in micro deposits, payments and remittances, noting that in a city such as Delhi, citizens’ benefit from gaining access to basic financial services by using them to engage in entrepreneurial activities and receive payment for their work.

The Ericsson’s report pointed out that with increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita often equated with increased consumption and thus increased impact on the environment, for example due to increased Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

ITRealms Online equally gathered that this environmental part of the index indicated how ICT could be used to separate GDP growth and CO2 emissions: a city with high GDP could use ICT to reduce their consumption, for example, with smart commuting, or how a city in a developing country or city could chose a more sustainable development path, by obtaining the same type of services, giving an instance with virtually, as opposed to physical products.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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