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Accra To Benefit From IBM Challenge Grant   
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IBM, a multinational technology company, announced on Thursday the selection of Accra as one of 32 cities worldwide to receive IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grants during 2012.

A statement from the company copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant would help Accra identify, prioritise and benchmark the key economic, societal and environmental challenges facing the city. “The selection of Accra will help the city to improve its revenue collection capacity, allowing it to effectively position itself as a growing regional urban hub in Africa. It is our hope that Accra’s investor potential will be significantly boosted by this grant,” said Joe Mensah, Country General Manager, IBM Ghana.

Launched in 2011, the Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year 100-city $50 million programme, IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative funds in-person engagements staffed by teams of top IBM experts, who study and then make detailed recommendations addressing locally important urban issues.

The Smarter Cities Challenge Grant comprises of the use of IBM technology alongside a deployment of high-level team of executives who would be assigned to work on capacity building with urban authorities during their stay in Accra.

Specifically, the Grant would enable Accra streamline its revenue collection channels, leveraging IBM’s expertise in developing smarter systems for emerging cities.

The proposed outreach would include the deployment of a team of Smarter Challenge experts who are expected to be in Accra later this year. In addition, it covers complementary use of existing technologies for the duration of the engagement.

At the end of their tour, the team would officially present their findings and recommendations to senior public officials, including actionable recommendations. Over the last 10 years, Accra has worked to invest in systems that would allow it to enjoy sustainable growth. The city was recently declared a Millennium City by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, New York.

The Millennium Cities initiative is a project aimed at helping selected cities in sub-Saharan Africa to design effective and viable strategies towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The need to use new approaches to address civic challenges has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world's population began living in cities for the first time.

These population centres are more economically powerful, politically influential, and technologically advanced than at any time in history. But they also struggle with budgetary and operational challenges.

IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge is an outgrowth of IBM's Corporate Service Corps grants programme, in which IBM deploys teams of top employees to areas in the developing world to work on projects that intersect business, technology and society. Since the launch of Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 140 team assignments in 24 countries.

The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM's Corporate Citizenship programme and IBM’s International Foundation. IBM has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for 100 years.
Source: GNA

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