Lagos ranks 40th in networked society city index
•Stockholm ahead of London, Copenhagen, Singapore and Paris
Lagos has been ranked 40th, after cities including Stockholm, London, New York, Paris, Johannesburg and others, in the networked society city index 2016, released by Ericsson, yesterday.
According to a copy made available to journalists, Ericsson named Stockholm as the top-ranking city followed by London, Copenhagen, Singapore and Paris.
The index measures the performance of 41 cities from around the world from two perspectives—sustainable urban development and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) maturity.
Although starting at a low level, the index observed that Johannesburg and Lagos are progressing in all ICT dimensions of the index, which includes infrastructure, affordability, and usage.
While Johannesburg ranked 29th out of 40 countries in 2014,it climbed to 35th out of 41 countries surveyed in 2016. Lagos, which ranked 38th in 2014 climbed to 40 in 2016.
Stockholm is ranked number one in the sustainable urban development part of the index, closely followed by Copenhagen, Helsinki and Paris. London ranked top in the ICT part of the index, replacing Stockholm, which now ranks second before Singapore on third place.
Lagos is ranked in a category of better performing cities from an environmental standpoint. Cities in this category perform well with regard to CO2 emissions and energy usage per capita but experience high levels of pollution.
According to the report, Lagos’s largest challenge lies in pollution, where it ranks lowest of all index cities.
“Air quality is well below average. NO2 and SO2 emissions are among the highest out of all ICT cities. Lagos’ relative strengths are its low CO2 emissions, low energy consumption, and low consumption of fossil fuels”, the report said.
Further findings from the report revealed that Lagos faced several challenges related to ICT infrastructure. Few people, according to the report have access to the Internet through either broadband or Wi-Fi hotspots, and the quality of both fixed and mobile broadband is very low.
“Price levels in relation to income in Lagos are the highest out of all index cities. Tariffs for both fixed broadband and mobile cellular traffic are very expensive compared with GDP per capita. IP transit prices for international traffic are also higher than the index average”, the report revealed.
Although Lagos presents a low score in ICT usage, the results, according to the report could be worse given the city’s poor performance in the infrastructure and affordability dimensions.
While ICT maturity improvement between 2014 through 2016 is very high, the report added that, “Lagos’ biggest challenge lies in its low penetration rate for computers, smartphones, and tablets coupled with few mobile phone subscriptions. The results for internet usage and electronic payments are better, but still remain well below the index average”.
Cities that have noticeably moved up the Networked Society City Index 2016 ranking, compared with the 2014 index, include Barcelona, Istanbul and Jakarta. However, Hong Kong, Moscow and Dubai dropped in the ranking. In general, cities with low ICT maturity tend to mature faster than cities with higher ICT maturity, which indicates the presence of a catch-up effect.
Other highlights from the Networked Society City Index 2016 include that there is a positive correlation between social and economic development and increasing ICT maturity; ICTis not only critical to socioeconomic progress, but can help decouple this progress from an increased environmental footprint in favor of more sustainable development.
It also stressed that ICT infrastructure in Johannesburg is developing rapidly, and the municipality is investing in new infrastructure to ensure affordable high-speed broadband throughout the city. Today, Johannesburg’s relative strength lies in its mobile broadband quality, which is above the index average.
According to the index, smart city planning will be critical to achieving several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, it pointed out that cities will be instrumental for the advancement of climate action, poverty reduction, better health and education, as well as improved social and financial inclusion.
“A number of actions are essential for cities to go beyond smart cities of today and become more sustainable: including ICT as a basic infrastructure in the investment plans; creation of enabling regulatory environments that encourage the adoption of ICT; holistic approaches to integrating ICT across various sector planning, such as transport, energy and public safety; and collaboration between cities”, it stated.
Commenting, Head of Ericsson Networked Society Lab, Erik Kruse, says: “UN-Habitat estimates that 70 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban areas by 2050. Many smart city initiatives to date have mainly used ICT to optimize existing systems and behaviors, for example, intelligent transport.
“Instead, cities need to rethink existing structures to fully grasp the potential of ICT to make sure that “smart” is in fact sustainable. The future Networked Society city is characterized by resiliency, collaboration, participation and mobility, which are essential for ensuring our cities are attractive, sustainable and vibrant places.”