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Koya: Country’s Survival Dependent On Innovation

Koya: Country’s Survival Dependent On Innovation
From left: Asian Development Bank’s regional director Masayuki Tachiiri, Fiji National University’s associate dean learning and teaching Maheswara Valluri, University of the South Pacific president and vice-chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra, FNU vice-chancellor Professor Nigel Healey, Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya, business leader and FNU chancellor Ikbal Jannif, ADB’s urban sector group team leader Chew Anne Rono and KPMG managing partner Michael Yee Joy at the smart city challenge event in Suva on July 28, 2018. Photo: Simione Haravanua
July 29
12:19 2018

Fiji’s urban centres are growing at a rapid pace, bringing with it challenges for policy makers and city planners alike.

Challenges like traffic congestion and waste management top the agenda today when Government and other decision-makers meet to talk about managing towns and cities.

According to the 2017 census, 55.9 per cent of Fiji’s 884,887 people live in urban areas. That is a 16.3 per cent – 69,406 – increase from roughly 10 years ago.  The Fiji Bureau of Statistics attributes this to the “extension of town boundaries and also due to movement of people from rural to urban areas.”

A new smart city innovation challenge was held yesterday at Suva’s Holiday Inn to address some of these challenges. 

Organised by the Asian Development Bank, in partnership with Government and KPMG, the ‘Smart City Challenge’ is a competition designed to encourage innovation. Happening for the first time in the Pacific Islands, the challenge aims to bring deployable smart city solutions from around the world to Fiji.

Government will provide access to funding and training to the winner of the twelve participating teams, it was announced.

They will also receive pre-approval certificates for the Young Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES). Competition co-ordinators say the challenge is part of the build-up to next year’s ADB annual meeting, another first for the region.

Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya said the programme was “timely”, as there was an urgent need for smart solutions that enable better urban management.  The survival of any country or its industries in the future is dependent on innovation and becoming smarter in the way we do things,” Mr Koya said.

“All the ideas developed by the participants will be thoroughly assessed, as they could be useful and convenient to the Government in terms of addressing Climate Change, Urban Mobility and Municipal Markets.”

ADB regional director Masayuki Tachiiri said they fully support Fiji’s digital innovation and development ambitions.

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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