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How to Build a Smart City in Africa

Singer Akon has said he’s building a new city in Uganda, to add to the one he’s already planning in his home country of Senegal. His plans include gravity-defying skyscrapers, luxury apartments and places for study, work and leisure – all within a short walk of each other. The city will even have its own cryptocurrency – “Akoin”. It’s a far cry from the problems that blight many African cities: poor housing, water shortages and electricity blackouts. These futuristic cities are cropping up across the continent, but some experts wonder if they really are the utopia they seem. Sakhile Mngadi, a city councillor for Durban and an architect, says many of the futuristic cities “aren’t really speaking to the context that they live in”.