Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Joburg’s ‘digital zone’ aims to seed high-tech ventures

The Braamfontein area of downtown Johannesburg is getting a boost from a "digital innovation zone" being created by a nearby university. (EPA/KIM LUDBROOK/LANDOV)

Johannesburg’s Braamfontein section is getting a buzz of digital entrepreneurship reminiscent of London’s East End.

Barry Dwolatzky reports for The Conversation that the University of the Witwatersrand is spearheading a plan to create a technology hub that would spawn innovative startups. A similar transformation has taken place in the East End, where young entrepreneurs took root and launched digital businesses. The result was a rejuvenated inner-city district and an economic jolt that helped revive Britain’s economy.

Joburg’s “digital innovation zone,” under development for two years, would be near the main campus of the university. Goals include reducing unemployment, spurring entrepreneurship and urban revitalization, Dwolatzky writes.

The project is attracting attention from leading tech companies. IBM announced in February that it would locate a research lab in Braamfontein. Strategic partners include Microsoft, Barclays Africa and Telkom, a major South African telecommunications provider.

The Conversation

More from Citiscope

Latest Commentary