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WEF to launch regional networks to support digital transformation of smaller cities

The networks in Latin America and South Asia will share smart city knowledge and connect mid-size and small cities in the regions with pioneer cities.

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The Latin American network is being established in the Colombian city of Medellin
The Latin American network is being established in the Colombian city of Medellin

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is launching two regional networks of cities in Latin America and South Asia to share knowledge on smart city development while protecting public interests related to privacy, security and sustainability.

 

The networks will be established in the Colombian city of Medellin and Mumbai in India under the umbrella of the Forum’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance. The networks will connect leading pioneer cities from the alliance with smaller cities in the region.

 

Investment in new tech

 

WEF said that with cyberattacks on municipalities rising and digital technologies becoming central to economic competitiveness, these smaller cities need to invest in new technologies, but have less capacity than their larger global counterparts to implement the ensure effective governance.

 

The networks will be hosted by the Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Colombia and India and efforts will be supported by partners of the World Economic Forum and the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) Global Network.

“We can learn from global best practices and still get a local perspective on issues that matter to our residents”

“Latin America is home to some of the most exciting initiatives in smart cities today, but that success is not evenly spread,” said José Manuel Restrepo, minister of trade, industry and tourism of Colombia. “Colombia is honoured to take on the task of coordinating the regional activities of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance in Latin America, so that cities across the region can benefit from both global and regional knowledge exchange.”

 

Purushottam Kaushik, head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution India, said: “India already has one of the world’s most ambitious smart city programmes, driven by the Government of India’s Smart Cities Mission. Now with input from the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance, Indian cities will have access to the world’s foremost expertise in smart city policy-making.”

 

Successful model

 

The roll-out follows the successful establishment of this model in a number of Japanese cities, led by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan.

 

Cities in Latin America and India will be invited to meet regularly to analyse smart city policies and will receive technical support from the Forum’s network of global experts.

 

Founding members of the Regional Alliance for Latin America are: Bogotá, Colombia; Brasília, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Córdoba, Argentina; Medellín, Colombia and Mexico City, Mexico. Founding members of the National Alliance for India are Bengaluru, Bhopal, Faridabad, Hyderabad, Indore, Kohima, Mangalore, Raipur, Shillong and Thane.

“Latin America is home to some of the most exciting initiatives in smart cities today, but that success is not evenly spread”

“When we launched the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance during Japan’s presidency, we could see city governments asking for global best practices that would allow them to compete in a global, tech-driven economy. But we also knew that smaller cities would struggle to implement these practices without local support,” said Chizuru Suga, head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan.

 

“That is why we launched the global alliance in parallel with a national initiative to unite cities across Japan for adapting and sharing global best practices.”

 

Riku Miyamoto, mayor of Kaga City, said the Japanese city has been sharing knowledge with 12 other cities for over a year to make sure it has the policies it needs to deploy technology “quickly and safely”. “We can learn from global best practices and still get a local perspective on issues that matter to our residents,” said Miyamoto.

 

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