IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Abuja 2017 – What are we doing here?

The Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) is a major pro bono effort by IBM to help cities around the world address their governance and livability challenges – such as citizen services, transportation, waste management and revenue collection – by bringing together expertise in the form of global IBM teams. Cities apply for the grant, and the selected ones get a team of 5-6 senior IBMers to work on location for 3 weeks, understand the situation and craft pragmatic recommendations to improve the current situation. Over the past six years, IBM has invested $66 mn in this effort and worked with over 130 cities.

The Smarter Cities Challenge
Smarter Cities Challenge Blog (experiences of previous teams)

Before I describe our Challenge, a word about Abuja. The Federal Capital Territory of Abuja (FCTA) has been the capital of Nigeria since 1991. It was designated as the capital in the 70s and developed in the 80s. In many ways, Abuja is not unlike Washington, DC or Brasilia. Distinct from the 36 states of the country, which have their own Governors, the FCTA is directly under the control of the Federal Government and is administered by a Federal Minister.

IMG_2933Map of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja

The FCTA, through its departments and agencies, provides a wide range of services to the citizenry, including land allocation, education and healthcare – and is also responsible for revenue collection under a number of categories, such as ground rent, water charges, waste disposal charges and building permits. Presently, the revenue collected from the citizenry and the business and governmental entities within the FCTA is only a fraction of the potential revenues that could be collected. So our job, over the three-week Challenge, is to understand the reasons for the lackadaisical revenue collection performance across a selected subset of FCTA departments and help the FCTA administration improve their revenues.

IMG_2951 The charter of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board

Our five-member team in Abuja brings over 100 years of cumulative experience, and represents IBM’s diverse geographic footprint and business interests. As our understanding of the issues and potential solutions get clearer with time, I will update this blog with my thoughts and ideas on how we plan to tackle this challenge.


IMG_2935 Our cracking team – looking good, y’all


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