Asian, African mayors to exchange ideas on making cities smarter

Asian, African mayors to exchange ideas on making cities smarter

Participating countries in the upcoming 60th Asian-African Conference Commemoration (AACC) will make the most of the chance to hold meetings between relevant figures from the two continents, such as in terms of exchanging ideas on sustainable urban development.

The opportunity will be available in a luxury hotel in Bandung, West Java, on April 22 and 23 during the 2015 Asia Africa Smart City Summit (AASCS). As thousands of delegates from 109 Asian and African countries flock to the host city of the 1955 conference to attend dozens of sideline events around those dates, hundreds of mayors, academics and industry practitioners are expected to attend the AASCS to share ideas and discuss urban-related issues.

"Nowadays, countries in Asia and Africa share similar problems mainly caused by overpopulation, such as pollution, a shortage of energy, housing problems and poor public transportation," said Suhono Harso Supangkat, chairman of the 2015 AASCS.

Organized by Bandung city administration, the 2015 AASCS is themed "Smart City for Civilization Advancement".

"The theme is in line with one of the aims of the AACC, which is advancing shared interests and co-operation," said Suhono, who is also director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development of the Bandung Institute of Technology. "Urban-related issues are crucial because they are also keys to resolving national problems as well."

The event is scheduled to be opened by Vice President Jusuf Kalla. Among the speakers who have confirmed participation are dozens of mayors from notable Asian and African cities, as well as academics and other relevant high-ranking officials.

Indonesia will include its three most popular mayors - Tri Rismaharini from Surabaya, Bima Arya of Bogor and Ridwan Kamil of the host city Bandung.

"The original 1955 conference was aimed at fighting colonialism. Today, we utilize the connection to share experiences and help each other," Ridwan said.

International speakers include Galal Mostafa Said of Cairo, Mira Aggarwal (New Delhi), and Joseph Estrada (Manila).

One of the key representatives of industry practitioners is Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, one of China's richest men.

The two-day summit will feature keynote speeches, presentations, panel discussions and networking sessions by renowned experts, noted entrepreneurs and mayors from Asia and Africa.

"Speakers will showcase innovations used to address the issues they have in their respective countries. Participants may not only share experiences but also forge collaboration for solutions," Suhono said.

Bandung city Communication and Informatics Agency secretary Yayan Brilyana said that of the 300 invitations sent, 125 had so far confirmed attendance at the summit.

As the outcome of the summit, a declaration on co-operation for smart cities is expected to be announced during the event's closing ceremony.

The event has been initiated by Ridwan, who used to work as an architect in the US after obtaining his Master's degree on urban design there. He is also a member of the World Mayors Forum and is expected to attend the sixth World Cities Summit in New York, US, in June.

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