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Smart Cities Innovation Program

Smart Cities Innovation Program (SCIP): Specialisation of Innovation Support Organisations (ISOs) is an initiative led by Make-IT in Africa (Make-IT in Africa is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)) and implemented by Yunus Environment Hub. In response to the challenges faced by cities such as CO2 emissions, waste and pollution in Africa, the program selects 11 ISOs from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa to participate in the first edition. 

Needs assessment and gap analysis are conducted with each selected ISO to identify their current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with the aim of understanding the specific local context in which each organisation operates and identify the potential growth areas and gaps that need addressing. Using the insights gained from the assessment, we will create a tailored playbook for each ISO. The playbook will include specialised professionalisation tools and strategic advice tailored to the organisation’s needs and local context. 

Insights from the needs assessment are used to develop relevant, tailored, capacity building sessions for the week-long in person bootcamp in Nairobi, Kenya. In the weeks following the bootcamp, the ISOs work closely with individual mentors to continue to develop roadmaps towards specialisation. The program also enables ongoing peer exchange, and expert workshops to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing among them. ISOs across Africa often adopt a generalist approach, lacking strategic focus and specialisation in niche sectors. This limitation hinders their ability to provide tailored assistance, mentorship, tools, and access to vital partnerships for tech entrepreneurs. SCIP addresses this gap by building a collaborative Pan-African community of mission-driven, specialised ISOs committed to supporting smart cities startups and innovation.

The core objectives of SCIP are:

  • Foster Specialisation: Provide ISOs with training, tools, and global connections to develop specialised expertise in supporting smart cities startups.
  • Strengthen Capacities of ISOs: Offer specialised support to selected ISOs, enhancing their internal capacities and establishing mentors, investors, and alumni networks.
  • Pan-African Collaboration: Connect ISOs across Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa, fostering peer learning and facilitating the exchange of best practices, trends, and insights related to supporting smart cities startups.
  • Focus Areas: SCIP concentrates its efforts on key sectors crucial to the advancement of urban landscapes in Africa. These focus areas include Smart Mobility, Smart Housing, Fintech, E-commerce, Clean Tech, Smart Water Tech, Energy, Agritech, and Health Tech. By focusing on these domains, SCIP aims to catalyse innovative solutions that address the evolving needs of Africa’s growing cities.    

Building Smart and Circular Cities in Africa