Data-Driven Cities: Conference for the Urban Common Good

Nairobi, Kenya / Online

The Data-Driven Cities Conference takes place on 12-13 February 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya as well as online (hybrid format). It brings together stakeholders from city and national governments, academia, business and civil society from Germany, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. It focuses on data use for urban well-being. Participants will discuss the need of urban data strategies, exchange information and share good practices on urban data-driven projects – all to jointly pave the way towards urban prosperity and sustainability. Register now by using the form below!

© Light in Captivity
© Adobe Stock / Govan


In an interconnected world, where cities are hubs for innovation and technological development, harnessing data is an important measure to drive urban well-being and sustainability. Local governments and authorities, businesses and even citizens are increasingly engaged in data-driven projects to enhance the quality of urban life. Smart metering, digital recycling programmes and crowdsourced public transport maps are just some examples of the possibilities. Yet, not all projects fulfil their set-out objectives. Against this backdrop, the question arises what makes data-driven projects successful. How can they be used effectively to promote welfare and sustainability in urban areas? What partnerships are required to ensure their success? "Data-Driven Cities: Conference for the Urban Common Good" serves as a platform to find answers to these questions. Stakeholders from different sectors will come together in Nairobi, Kenya to explore the opportunities of using data for urban progress. They will also address common challenges faced in data-driven projects. By exchanging best practices, participants can draw on each other's experiences and expertise.


The conference aims to promote a common understanding of the benefits of data utilisation for well-being in cities. For this, it looks at how cities can create an enabling environment to encourage the generation, exchange and use of data. As the conference brings together experts from Germany, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, this will be a unique opportunity to share best practices and learn from use cases that illustrate the benefits of data use in urban spaces.


The two-day conference will take place in a hybrid format. It offers a variety of insightful contributions in the form of presentations of successful data strategies, platforms and use cases. Participants will also have the chance to join working groups to examine use cases regarding their effectiveness, success factors and replicability – allowing them to learn from real-life examples.

Participants that join on site will be able to visit pilot projects around Nairobi as part of a special second day programme.

You can find the full programme including the agenda of the conference here:


The conference brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, including national policymakers, city governments, businesses (start-ups and global players), civil society representatives and academics. The event will be held in English.


The conference will take place at the Park Inn by Radisson in Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya. With its status as the "conference capital of East Africa", Nairobi provides state-of-the-art conferencing facilities and excellent connectivity through its international airport. On-site participants will be able to visit pilot projects in and around Nairobi as part of the conference. Online participation is also possible but limited to day 1 of the conference, excluding the site visits on day 2.

Organisation & hosts

The conference will be co-hosted by the Kenyan Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy (MOIC-DE), the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) and the German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB). The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is responsible for organising the conference.

Kenyan Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy

MOIC-DE supervises and enhances policies related to broadcasting and information. Since 2022, the ministry is divided into the State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications and The State Department of ICT and Digital Economy. The overarchingobjective is to transform Kenya into a competitive economy driven by knowledge and to ensure widespread availability of ICT infrastructure and services across the entire nation.

German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV)

BMDV is committed to creating a common international framework for the digital transformation. Its goal is to make the opportunities afforded by digitalisation available to everyone and thus contribute to sustainable development. BMDV pursues this goal in bilateral Digital Dialogues with important partner countries. They serve to compare digital policy agendas, address specific issues in bilateral relations and develop joint positions for multilateral forums.

German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB)

The aim of BMWSB is to ensure sufficient, affordable and climate-friendly housing, an attractive living environment with functioning and efficient infrastructures, and attractive public spaces. BMWSB supports smart cities in Germany and worldwide in a joint dialogue between politics, administration, business, science and civil society.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

GIZ is a service provider with worldwide operations in the fields of international cooperation and development cooperation. It is a public-benefit federal enterprise and supports the German government as well as other public and private sector clients in a wide variety of areas, including economic development, digital governance, employment promotion, energy and the environment, and peace and security.


Angela Oduor Lungati is a technologist, community builder, and open-source software advocate passionate about building and using appropriate technology tools to impact the lives of marginalized groups. She has over ten years of experience in software development, global community engagement, and non-profit organizational management.
She is the Executive Director at Ushahidi, a global non-profit technology company that helps communities quickly collect and share information that enables them to raise voices, inform decisions and influence change.

Atsu Norgbedzi is a senior public officer at the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) in Ghana. He has over 10 years of experience in land administration and management. In his current position, he leads initiatives related to revenue mobilisation from land use for development, land governance, land tenure, environmental sustainability, and alternative dispute resolution. Atsu is a key member of the Central Committee of the OASL, integrating digital technologies to drive institutional transformation. He holds a MSc in Environmental Resource Management from the University College Dublin and a BSc in Land Economy from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.


Caroline Sester is currently the Head of Mobility and Traffic Management at Zweckverband Kommunale Dienste Oberland. Her specialist knowledge includes project management, project control, participation workshops, and traffic management. She completed a Master's Degree in Geography from the University of Bamberg and gained experience through internships and working student jobs in the field of mobility consulting and data management.


Clara Schüürman is a Senior Policy Officer at the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), where she coordinates open-data initiatives. She oversees BMDV data infrastructures, including the Mobilithek and Mobility Data Space, and contributes to European data initiatives like the European Mobility Data Space. Clara is dedicated to advancing digital transformation in mobility at national and European levels.
She previously worked in IT consulting and gained international experience in Sweden and the United States. She holds a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Economics & Business Administration.

Delyno du Toit is the Manager of the Data Science branch in the City of Cape Town, where they harness the transformative power of data to ensure all residents of Cape Town reap the benefits of informed decision-making and impactful actions.  The introduction of the City of Cape Town Data Science unit was a first within the South African spheres of government.  Prior to his current role, he applied his Industrial Engineering qualifications to implement Asset Management Systems for the rail industry in the UK, and leverage data and digital services to optimise business models for prominent companies in the Manufacturing, Logistic and Retail Banking industries in South Africa.

Gudrun Schwarz is a Senior Policy Officer at the German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building. Her career encompasses many years of experience in spatial planning and digitalization within the urban development sector. A main focus of her work is developing and implementing innovative strategies to enhance urban living through smart city initiatives. She is an expert in policy formulation and cross-sector collaboration and has a strong commitment to sustainable and inclusive solutions.


Hugh Cole currently serves as Policy and Strategy Director at the City of Cape Town. In this role, he is responsible for policy, strategic and infrastructure planning, economic analysis, research, and international partnerships. Before joining the City of Cape Town in 2017, he was the Director of Country Programmes at the International Growth Centre, a collaboration between the London School of Economics and Oxford University. He is also a visiting fellow of the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics.



Dr Jannis Hoek serves as sustainability officer at the Enzkreis District. In his role, he coordinates the implementation of the 2030-Agenda and advises mayors and local councils on diverse topics covered by the agenda. He is also responsible for data-based monitoring in line with the SDGs. He holds a doctorate in urban planning and has several years of research experience in municipal development, in which he combines natural and social science issues, technical infrastructure systems and innovative aspects.


Karen Laßmann has been serving as the project lead for the "Modellprojekte Smart Cities" at the Senate Chancellery of Berlin since 2020. Last year, she also took on the position as head of the Unit Smart City at the Senate Chancellery. She holds a degree in Business Administration from the Technical University of Berlin and has been working in various positions in the public service of Berlin since 2006.


Klaus Illigmann is the head of the "Strategic Urban Development Planning" unit at the City of Munich's urban planning department. His responsibilities include overseeing Munich's urban development plans, such as "Perspective Munich" and the new "STEP 2040," as well as coordinating Smart City activities across the department. Additionally, he serves as the Speaker of the Bavarian Innovation Platform "Smart Cities/Smart Regions" and is involved in steering committees and strategy groups related to digitalization and standards in urban development.

Mamadou Oury Diallo is the founder of Sheba Plastic, a circular solution using technologies like QR codes and smart bins to reduce plastic pollution in Africa. As a passionate advocate for sustainable solutions, he envisions data-driven cities that combat plastic pollution. His pioneering work in data-driven waste management through Sheba Plastic aligns with his commitment to fostering smart, eco-friendly cities.



Milcah Asamba is an independent qualitative researcher based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has over 15 years of experience exploring and understanding behavior and user experiences through participatory research methods, ethnography, focus groups, in-depth interviews and contextual understanding. She has worked for research agencies in Kenya covering the wider East African region. She is pursuing a Doctorate in Development Studies at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology focusing on hidden hunger, health, climate change and sustainable development.


Peter Lubrich is a dedicated researcher at the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) in Germany, specializing in the intricacies of data exchange within the realms of Connected and Automated Mobility. He actively contributes to various projects focused on conceptualizing and implementing data ecosystems, platforms, and applications.
Peter has previously worked with consulting firms specializing in transportation planning and traffic engineering, both in the USA and Germany. This background provides him with a unique perspective and a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the domain.


Mr. Raphael Edu-Gyan is the Coordinator for Performance-Based Grant Systems, overseeing the District Assemblies Common Fund Responsiveness Factor Grant (DACF-RFG) and the Ghana Secondary Cities Support Programme (GSCSP). These initiatives provide essential funding to Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana to support their Annual Action Plans. As an E-Governance Expert and Principal Development Planning Officer at the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation, and Rural Development, Mr. Edu-Gyan brings a wealth of expertise to the integration of Information Technology into the operations of MMDAs in Ghana. His academic background includes a master's degree in Information Policy and E-Governance from Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea.


Richard Gevers is the founder of Open Cities Lab, a civic technology lab with a focus on the development of open data for application to urban challenges operating within cities in Africa. He is also the CEO and co-founder of Tenji, a data science startup with a focus on building data products and tools that aid cities of the future. Prior to founding Open Cities Lab, Richard worked as an economist, based in Durban, South Africa, where he interacted with both private clients and all tiers of South African government on a range of projects in various sectors. He is an entrepreneur with a dedication to the advancement of African communities through dynamic solutions and tools, hoping to empower socio-economic development and to affect social change. He has a deep interest in openness and transparency in society.

Dr Rene Kabalisa serves as the Principal overseeing Research and Development at the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA). He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering majoring in Technology Management Economics and Policy and an Integrated Major in Smart City Global Convergence, earned at Seoul National University (SNU), South Korea. Additionally, he obtained a master’s degree in information technology from the Kobe Institute of Computing (KIC) in Japan where he majored ICT4D and Innovation. His research interests include AI Adoption, Technology Forecasting, Micro & Macro Economics, Smart Cities with a particular emphasis on City Regeneration.


Dr Robert Hecht is senior researcher in the group "Spatial Information and Modelling" at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) in Dresden (Germany). He has expertise in geoinformatics, cartography, and applied remote sensing. He earned his doctorate at the TU Dresden on the development of approaches for automatic building classification and detection of urban structures.


Victor Odenda has been employed by the County Government of Mombasa since 2020 and holds a position in its energy department. His responsibilities include the overseeing of programmes related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and resource mobilisation. Victor holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Sociology from Agra University, India.

Yourui Yeo is the Use Case Manager for the Smart Cities Project “DATA:SPACE:FREIBURG” at the City Administration of Freiburg. She is responsible for designing and implementing a structured use case management process to promote sustainable urban development. Yeo has a MSc in Environmental Governance and a BA in Economics and Organizational Studies. She is passionate about bringing together different stakeholders to drive the urban sustainability transformation.



Please note that registration for the conference has now closed. We are delighted about your interest and look forward to welcoming you to future events of the International Digital Dialogues.

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