Nairobi has been named the most intelligent community in Africa, according to the Intelligent Community Forum, a New York-based foundation and think tank.

Comprised of just four million people, Nairobi was one of only two sub-saharan cities identified by global management consulting firm, A.T Kearney to achieve ‘developed status’ within 20 years. According to the ICF’s synopsis of Nairobi, it cited two key areas of development that have served both the national and municipal interests with great aptitude.

With a negligible mobile phone network in place just over a decade ago, companies such as M-Pesa have reformed not only the communications sector, but also stimulated the economy by integrating a prepaid transfer system which today handles $320 million in payment per month and has supported the mobile penetration rate to almost 70%. Within the same sector, a collaboration between Safaricom and the Commercial Bank of Africa called M-Shwari, a savings and lending program based on a mobile platform, was also credited as for expanding the economic capacity of the region, facilitating loans of $14 million to a customer base of seven million, within two years.

The ICT also acknowledged the development of the Public Private sector, thanks in part to individuals such as industrialist, Manilal Chandaria. Attracting multinationals such as Microsoft and Intel to partner with the 4Afrika Youth Device Program, Kenya’s macro economic development plan, (Vision 2030) has put much emphasis on developing the country’s ICT sector, helping to expedite its transformation to a developed economy.

Selected as the only community from Africa to make the ‘Smart21’, other cities and communities that made up the top twenty-one intelligent communities included Arlington County, Virginia, (U.S.A) Rio de Janeiro, (Brazil) and New Taipei City, (Taiwan).

In 2012, the ICF was invited to participate at the Nobel Peace Prize conference in Oslo and in 2014, its work was recognised by the U.S Department of Commerce under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.