As engines of growth and innovation, cities play a vital role in socio-economic development. By 2050, it is expected that over 66 per cent of the world’s population will be urban. This brings its own challenges: excessive pressure on already scarce resources, congestion, lack of housing, insufficient water and electricity supply, pollution and inadequate waste removal services. Cognisant of this dire outlook, urban planners, scientists and enterprises have been working on solutions and have coined a term for the desired overall outcome: smart city.
All around the world, city planners are committed to realising this aspiration. Germany has gained outstanding expertise in upgrading East German cities since our Unification in 1990, making it an ideal partner for India’s “Smart Cities Mission”. Furthermore, Germany is India’s second-largest bilateral donor with a record commitment of ₹11,000 crore in 2015. Our development cooperation is focussed on improving living conditions in urban areas, with an emphasis on the urban poor. We are strong at smart urban planning. German companies have developed technologies that make cities more liveable.
Germany is committed to helping India make a success of its smart cities programme, particularly in Kochi, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore, to which the German government has pledged special support in March. I visited the three cities recently to talk to stakeholders and further intensify our close cooperation. We have had a promising start. Germany has already been engaged in various sectors related to smart cities: sustainable urban mobility, water and wastewater management, renewable energies and energy efficiency. German companies are keen to partner with the cities to provide their cutting-edge technologies. Germany has also been supporting the Indian government’s key initiatives, such as “Swachh Bharat”, “Clean Ganga” and “Atal Mission for Urban Rejuvenation and Transformation”.
With our enhanced collaboration on smart cities, we are adding another layer to our multi-faceted partnership. Enjoy exploring What’s Up Germany?‘s “Smart Cities” issue.