IBM has named three African cities as winners of its Smarter Cities Challenge grant for 2014.

IBM will send teams to Mombasa County in Kenya, Durban in South Africa and Abuja in Nigeria to provide pro bono consultancy work on solving the biggest issues faced in these communities, from clean water to power shortages.

An IBM team will visit Mombasa County later this year to review and recommend strategies for enhancing municipal revenue collection and management.

Mombasa County joins 16 other cities and regions around the world that will receive recommendations from an IBM team this year.

The consultants spend three weeks on the ground before writing up a report, a service valued at US$500,000.

IBM started the Smarter Cities Challenge in 2011 as a three-year grant programme but effective results have extended the initiative.

Townsville in Australia benefited from the consultation by reducing its water and energy costs, earning it the country’s prestigious National Smart Infrastructure Award.

Other recipients of grants in 2014 include Brussels in Belgium, Jinan in China, Vilnius in Lithuania and Zapopan in Mexico.

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