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South Africa: Durban Ignites Spirit of Innovation
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Friday, July 12, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: South Africa
Created: Jul 12, 2013

To mark the event, the summit partners brought an internationally renowned and world’s most in demand innovation speakers Robert B. Tucker. Tuckeris the president and founder of The Innovation Resource, formerly an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been a consultant and keynote speaker for 25 years.

Naidoo said the main objective of the Innovative Summit was to bring key players around the same table so as to begin the journey of technological innovation towards the future together.

“Through MILE, we hope to position eThekwini Municipality as a ‘learning city’ and promote a culture of learning and innovation amongst local government practitioners,” he said.

He revealed that MILE was the first municipal institute of its kind in Africa and aimed to establish strategic partnerships and collaborations with other learning institutions in Durban, South Africa and beyond.

“We have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban University of Technology”.

As part of the drive towards innovation, the city has set aside in 2013 alone R2 million in bursary funding to train aspiring engineers through its collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking exclusively to SAnews on the sidelines of the summit, Naidoo said eThekwini Municipality had long regarded itself as a “smart city”.

“We have rolled out our own optic fibre network connecting the city with its key service point areas and the rest of townships and rural areas within our borders. We no longer communicate with township ratepayers via Telkom system. This has heightened awareness about the importance of technological innovation in the city,” he said.

The municipality has just launched an Energy Office, another first for a municipality in South Africa. The Energy Office, according to Naidoo, is tasked with the momentous duty of project conceptualisation and implementation of energy efficiency initiatives.

As an example, Naidoo said the municipality, through its Energy Office, has started converting methane gas at landfill sites into energy. This, he added, was to curb the effects of climate change.

Other innovative initiatives include the Green Hub, formally launched in 2011, which serves as a green technology demonstration building. The Green Hub aims to rehabilitate the natural environment, especially of the uMngeni Valley and in the process it has created green and sustainable jobs.

Another example of eThekwini being a “smart city”, was the launching of the first green roof on a South African municipal building in 2009.

“The framework to replicate this pilot project is at an advance stage. We hope to have more green roofs soon,” he said.
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