The Cape Digital Foundation believes that Smart Townships are Africa’s Smart Cities of the future, built around five core pillars:
- Digital infrastructure
- Affordable connectivity
- Digital skills
- Local content
- Data collection
Our mission is to provide the means for citizens to become Smart. This is made possible through partnerships that provide access to reliable, affordable Internet and digital skills training where daily use of the Internet is supported by relevant, hyper-local content – created by the people for the people.
Building digitally savvy business communities inside Smart Townships starts from the ground up – through providing access to affordable Internet connectivity and data, along with digital skills training. Training micro and small business owners gives rise to Smart Citizens who are able to use a smart phone and newfound digital skills to better administer and grow their businesses. When it comes to young people – particularly unemployed youth – their mastery of digital tools provides them with access to information and brings newfound confidence. This confidence fuels curiosity, and inspires young people to innovate and take risks. And thus the next generation of Smart entrepreneurs and leaders is born.
Affordable Wifi impacts Imizamo Yethu’s circular economy
Cape Digital Foundation’s current initiative, and Smart Township Proof of Concept, underway in Imizamo Yethu (IY) with partners, TooMuchWifi, bears testament to the fact that new township businesses develop and proliferate through the uptake and use of digital technology. More than this, the opportunity for creating a circular economy within this township is being greatly enhanced. Income made in the township is being spent in the township.
The current year-to-date figures released by TooMuchWifi who are CDF’s connectivity partners in Imizamo Yethu (IY), reveal that the equivalent of R17.8 million in data-spend has been saved within IY over the past twelve months through access to affordable, reliable Wifi. This literally constitutes household income that has been freed up to be spent on other necessities. But it does not stop here. By employing and training installers and customer support staff from within the IY community, as well as training local entrepreneurs in the data resale market, IY business owners and entrepreneurs are being enabled to both create income and spend it within the township, boosting the township economy.
IYtv delivers hyper-local content aimed at boosting IY’s digital uptake
TMW’s figures also reveal the growing number of IY residents who are consuming local news via IYtv, Imizamo Yethu’s own online news portal. This hyper-local news content serves to stimulate digital uptake, educate and grow the community’s discerning in terms of real and fake news.
CDF is committed to the scaling and replication of Smart Township initiatives such as the prototype initiative in Imizamo Yethu – leading to the growth of township businesses and the creation of innovative start-ups that provide products and services to meet unique townships needs – keeping skills and wealth that have been generated within the local community inside the Smart Township economy.