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The Digital Utilities Partnerships Hub

The Digital Utilities Partnerships Hub is our single source of information on innovative solutions and their role in making utility services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) more affordable, accessible, safe and sustainable.

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Government-innovator partnerships in Lagos

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Government-innovator partnerships in Islamabad

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Cities across Africa and Asia, where 90 per cent of urban growth will be concentrated from now until 2050, are grappling with the challenges arising from climate change, rapid urbanisation and widening inequality.
Local governments and utility service providers are finding it increasingly difficult to provide access to essential utility services such as energy, water sanitation, and waste-management. Digital solutions have created pathways to extend access to affordable, reliable, and safe utility services to low-income populations. Over the last decade, through the GSMA Innovation Fund we have supported over 100 start-ups and SMEs working across Africa and Asia. In that time, we have observed how central partnerships are for start-ups’ scaling journeys and wider social impact. We have also seen how partnership formation between stakeholders with different organisational cultures, time horizons, and strategic priorities can pose challenges.
The nature, quality, and accessibility of utility services has important implications for some of the most important determinants for productive, liveable, and resilient cities:
Education
Connectivity
Gender equality
Public health
Income equality

Partnering With The Public Sector: A toolkit for start-ups in the utilities sectors

Our start-up – public sector partnerships toolkit sets out the current context, challenges, opportunities and practical implementation steps needed to foster successful partnerships which leverage digital technology to improve urban utility service delivery in low- and middle-income countries.

Partnering With The Public Sector

Read the toolkit

Digital Urban Utilities Forums

Digital urban utilities forums are GSMA-organised events (online or physical) bring together start-ups, local government officials, regulators, enabling organisations, and private sector partners in a city. Their aim is to discuss the barriers and opportunities associated with public-private collaboration for improved urban service provision. The forums underline the developmental and commercial returns associated with innovative service delivery models, draw on impactful case studies that showcase the value of start-up public sector partnerships, create a forum for open and honest reflections about potential partnership barriers and shortcomings, and identify relevant opportunities for deeper follow-up engagement.

The objectives of the workshops are:

Highlight how digital innovation can help the public sector more effectively meet its public policy and service delivery objectives.

Encourage public-sector stakeholders to enable delivery models that reach low-income urban populations living in informal settlements.

Explore how to overcome challenges associated with start-up-government partnerships.

Encourage an enabling environment for digital innovations to thrive.

Help start-ups understand opportunities associated with government engagement.

Lagos

Islamabad

Select a city to find out more:

Lagos

Islamabad

Government-innovator partnerships in Lagos

Government-innovator partnerships in Islamabad

In collaboration with Utopia, 
an urban innovation group, the workshop focused on driving government-innovator partnerships in the sustainable transport and waste management sectors.

We convened over 25 participants from both the public and private sectors as well as mobile operators, enabling organisations, and civil society.

The GSMA Digital Utilities programme, in partnership with National Incubation Center Pakistan, hosted a virtual workshop with over 100 participants and 20 panelists from the public- and the private sector.

This provided a forum for these stakeholders to discuss key challenges and opportunities for public-private partnerships in three thematic areas: Water and sanitation; clean cooking; and investments in climate-tech

20 m+

Population – making Lagos the most populous city in Nigeria

2100

Year Lagos is expected to be the world’s most populous city

5 m+

cars

200 k+

Commercial vehicles

13000

metric tonnes of waste generated daily

40 %

of waste created collected by municipal authorities

9 x

rise in transportation cost during peak hours and bad weather

40 %

of income an average Lagos resident spends on transportation

50 %

half of Pakistan’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050

40 %

of the urban population has access to safely managed water

82 %

of the urban population has access to at least basic sanitation services

104 m+

Pakistan’s total population with primary reliance on polluting fuels and technologies for cooking

8 th

Most affected Country by Climate Change according to the Global Climate Risk Index

350 m+

Raised by Startups in Pakistan in 2021

THIS INITIATIVE HAS BEEN FUNDED BY UK AID FROM THE UK GOVERNMENT AND IS SUPPORTED BY THE GSMA AND ITS MEMBERS. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE UK GOVERNMENT’S OFFICIAL POLICIES.