Friday, 24 April 2015

Paper accepted for ACIST 2015 conference

A paper by Professor Judy Backhouse, entitled Smart city agendas of African cities has been accepted for the African Conference on Information Systems & Technology (ACIST) 2015 to be held in Accra, Ghana on the 7th and 8th of July.

This paper investigates how African cities understand the idea of a Smart City by examining what smart city agendas are being pursued in five cities on the continent and how these agendas are informed by local realities. The paper identifies competing discourses of social inclusion and development that benefit all city residents and smart-looking cities that benefit business and the elite.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Welcome to 2015 honours students

We have five Bachelor of Commerce Honours students joining the project team for 2015.

They are (from left) Yaseen Patel, Shado Masilela, Preshlen Reddy, Kalaela Gold and Mosi Huma. Yaseen and Shado are the recipients of the 2015 honours bursaries funded by the National Research Foundation.

Welcome to the team!

Master’s students share their research plans

There are three master’s students currently part of the Information Systems for Smart Cities in Africa project. Here they share some information about their research.

Malefa Topo

I propose to conduct a study that seeks to identify the factors hindering the take-up and use of the provided e-services that address identified information needs and demands in the cities in Gauteng. The success of the smart cities initiatives depends on residents’ participation and use of the provided e-services. While there seems to be evidence of a well formulated set of e-services developed and implemented to address residents' information needs and preferences, residents still express a need for these e-services. It is unclear why residents continue to express a need for services that are already being provided. Literature suggests that there might be factors hindering the take-up and use of the current e-services (Carter & Belanger, 2005). Smart City initiatives may not work unless local governments understand the factors that make residents use or not use the e-services that are offered.

My research study will contribute to practice by providing guidance to the city management as to what e-services are used by the residents. This means that the local government will be able to use this study as a guide when attempting to understand the residents’ use of the provided e-services.  The research will further identify the factors hindering the use of e-services. This will enable the local governments to direct attention to different approaches that can be adopted to address these barriers, and ensure that the Smart City services developed to meet the residents’ needs do not become obsolete.

Nalukui Malambo


My practical concern with the future of African cities has directed my research interest regarding the continent and how information systems are currently being used by cities of Africa, and how cities are developing and implementing solutions that are responsive to pressing issues sparked by the escalating rate of urbanisation exerting pressure on local socio-economic services, environmental and institutional structures.

The purpose of my research is to explore how African cities are adopting smart city agendas.  The study focuses on three key objectives which are to (i) identify factors contributing to the adoption of smart city agendas in Africa (ii) determine the objectives for developing smart city agendas in Africa and to (iii) identify the approaches adopted in implementing smart cities in the African context.  The research method of this study will be qualitative in nature and will be conducted using a comparative case study design and purposively selected two cities in Africa.

The findings of this research will be unique to the socio-economic context of each city and may not be generalizable to other cities.  However, the study will contribute towards understanding and documenting smart city initiatives in Africa and further knowledge on how the smart cities concept is being adopted and implemented by African cities.

Daniel Mutale

My study aims to identify and examine the factors which influence residents’ intention to continue using e-government services within developing countries. It has a particular focus on factors relating to technology, user satisfaction, trust and engagement. E-government services facilitate digital interactions between citizens and their respective governments.

The first step toward realising e-government success and long-term viability is the initial acceptance of e-government services. Continued use of e-government services by residents will enable its long term success. The acceptance of e-government services within developing countries is still a challenge. The majority of adoption research on e-government services within developing countries focuses on initial acceptance. The current study extends the current knowledge on e-government services by conducting an individual level study which will focus on residents’ intention to continue using e-government services. The quantitative research approach will be used in this study. Data will be collected from residents of South Africa and Kenya.

The study will provide guidance to governments in understanding whether the continued use of e-government services can be explained in terms of trust, satisfaction, engagement and technology factors. This can be used during and after e-government implementations to identify focus areas for achieving the continued use of e-government services. This will ensure that governments can successfully implement e-government services and achieve long-term e-government and Smart City success.