Smart Cities and Sustainable Business Models

Ahmed Shalaby
CEO: Tatweer Misr

How is Tatweer Misr trying to realize the idea of "inclusive cities," and how do you plan to move forward?

We aim to focus on intelligent, sustainable, and happy communities to achieve that. We tried to incorporate this from the beginning because this is something that will never happen overnight. From the start, we incorporated smart and sustainable urban planning concepts that allow us to achieve energy efficiency. After this, we focused on smart infrastructure including smart lighting, a smart irrigation system, and a smart water management system. When it comes to water and water efficiency, from the beginning, we established in Fouka Bay a water treatment plant to reuse the sewage water and use it for irrigation. Then we move to another layer of creating digitalized and cashless cities, and this is part of what we are doing too. We partnered with Schneider Electric Infrastructure and other companies, suppliers, and contractors, and we will have a data centre for each of our projects. Then, we will have a central data centre on our university campus in blue fields that will connect all the projects' information. Through this, we will have complete digitalized communities where residents will be able to control all their life needs through a mobile app. Even though these are extra expenses on our shoulders, we believe that what we are doing will benefit our financial statements as well as society and the environment.

Egypt is changing very fast. The New Administrative Capital is being built, and the population is increasing. To what extent can smart cities be the future of Egypt?

I think this is the future for Egypt. The Egyptian Government and the Ministry of Housing announced the launch of the fourth-generation cities, starting with the New Administrative Capital, the New Alamein, the New Mansoura, and Galala city. Most of these fourth-generation cities are smart cities. They all have a smart infrastructure but with different levels of application. The New Administrative Capital will be the role model with most of the smart applications. What we are doing is in line with the governmental strategy. I think the government fully understands the importance of smart cities.

How do you see this bigger business environment changing as you transform it into a sustainable business model? For example, you will need sustainable construction materials.

This is a big challenge, especially nowadays, when we are talking while facing a significant supply chain problem in the whole world. We don't have a lot to do about that, especially in Egypt, because most of the products we are using are either imported or partially imported.  We are trying to utilize local materials as much as possible, but this is a challenge. I would like to see more recycled materials used in the construction business. I think this is an excellent opportunity for the manufacturer to introduce new local products that will help with the construction, especially with the building on recycled materials.

What makes you so interested in sustainability? Is it you as a person or is it you for the company?

From the beginning, we have been cautious with selecting our team. We focus on teamwork and innovation as our two cores because both things are related to entrepreneurship. We believe that entrepreneurship is the way forward in Egypt and the whole Arab region. If we can integrate our business model with the support of young entrepreneurs, then this will be great. This is what we try to do with the education platform we are developing. You can still do good for the community and good for your country and society. In a business, this is what you should be trying to reach.