In his state of the nation address last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa heralded the construction of a new 5G-ready smart city around Lanseria airport in the next decade. With it, SA was belatedly thrust to the front of a continent-wide rush to establish smart and eco-friendly cities, a means of jump-starting the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) powered by digital technology.

Ramaphosa has been much criticised for his continued focus on heady goals and idealistic projects that are in stark contrast to the grim economic realities SA faces today. But he is not alone this time in his proclamations. Smart-city fever took hold in Africa more than a decade ago. There are 10 smart city zones in various stages of development in 54 African countries. ..

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