One of the key drivers of growth and development in emerging markets is the private sector. Urbanisation comes with a growing private sector of SMEs and private firms providing services to the general public, industries and the public sector. Capital investment is key in these emerging urban economies and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group has committed major investments in “diverse sectors of the Kenyan economy”. “Kenyan firms are increasingly taking debt and equity investments from the IFC and other global financiers, including European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Proparco and DEG to compensate for the limited funding opportunities in local capital markets.” According to Business Daily the global fund’s latest investment commitments include a Sh15.2 billion loan to Co-op Bank and a Sh2.7 billion debt and equity investment in a hospital to be built on Nairobi’s Kiambu Road. The financier says it intends to provide $22 million (Sh2.2 billion) in equity and $5 million (Sh505 million) in debt to an investment vehicle that is building the hospital. Owners of the hospital have acquired three acres on Kiambu Road for the facility.
Footage: Rogier van den Berg
“Digital Matatus shows how to leverage the ubiquitous nature of cellphone technology in developing countries to collect data for essental infrastructure, give it out freely and in the process spur innovation and improved services for citizens. Conceived out of collaboration between Kenyan and American universities and the technology sector in Nairobi, this project captured transit data for Nairobi, developed mobile routing applications and designed a new transit map for the city. The data, maps and apps are free and available to the public, transforming the way people navigate and think about their transportation system.”
Although old news, Bogota’s Transmilenio Bussystem is a concept which should be added to this Smart City Studio Blog. According to Camilo Santamaría presenting at the UN-habitat Expert Group Meeting in Nairobi, february 18th 2011:
“Transmilenio bus system shows how public transport-oriented city planning can stimulate urban renewal whilst improving the use of space and energy resources. The city is located between a river and a mountain range, and contains a number of heritage buildings in the central business district. It has a population of roughly 6 million people, and is likely to grow an additional 2 million in the next 15 years. Constrained by natural boundaries and a historical urban core, planning for a growing population with a significant number of living below poverty lines is a challenge.The bulk of employment opportunities are located in the CBD, which is situated at the Northernmost edge of the city alongside the mountain and is surrounded by a number of smaller towns to the South. Faced with the challenge of moving people between residential areas and places of work, the city realised that a bus system would be the most cost-effective means of providing public transport, and would require significantly less land than a car-centred approach. Curitiba’s BRT model was adapted to include passing lanes for buses, as observed in Quito. The implementation of the Transmilenio and inclusion of sidewalks, cycle lanes and public transport routes into city design has created numerous opportunities for urban renewal. Areas once designated for roads are now used by cyclists and pedestrians, and a number of tree-lined avenues and public parks have been created around the stations and commuter routes. These green spaces attract members of the public, and the streets are once again busy with people instead of cars. To cater for growing demand for public transport, the city is now considering a metro system to service major routes”.
This article is extracted from the report: “What does the green economy mean for sustainable urban development”, by UN-habitiat, Expert Group Meeting, Nairobi, 17-18 February 2011