Mastercard takes in 27 potential smart cities

Mastercard takes in 27 potential smart cities

Depa signs onto City Possible initiative

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) has signed a deal with Mastercard to bring 27 Thai candidate smart cities into the "City Possible" programme, initiated by the global payments company to accelerate urban development.

City Possible provides members with access to a global community of urban leaders, businesses, NGOs and academics who can share their knowledge through a number of related forums.

The move is part of a push to bring Bangkok, Phuket and Khon Kaen into the top 20 of global smart city rankings by 2022, said Passakon Prathombutr, Depa's senior executive vice-president.

The IMD Smart City Index was formulated by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre's Smart City Observatory, in partnership with Singapore University of Technology and Design. Bangkok is only the Thai city ranked in the 2019 index, placing 75th out of 120 cities surveyed.

"This is the year for action on Thailand's smart city policy, which was a national agenda item last year," said Mr Passakon.

A total of 27 cities in 21 Thai provinces have submitted proposals to take part in the project driven by Depa.

A focus on smart cities is a core pillar of the government's Thailand 4.0 initiative, aimed at transforming Thailand into a high-income nation with vastly improved quality of life in cities.

"Depa aims to have 100 smart cities nationwide by 2022," he said.

In 2020, 60 cities from 30 provinces are projected to be part of Depa's smart city scheme. Activities meant to foster smart city development will be entitled to tax privileges provided by the Board of Investment.

Of the 27 cities, most of them want smart environment and living features.

Yesterday Depa signed a memorandum of understanding with Mastercard for the 27 Thai candidate smart cities in the City Possible scheme, said Mr Passakon.

"Depa will help educate and incubate these candidate cities to implement the smart city project successfully," he said.

"Depa represents all Thai cities that participate collectively, instead of individual city-level partnerships."

"In Thailand, Mastercard is keen to explore the implementation of City Key, a platform launched in partnership with Honolulu, which combines a universal municipal identification with payments functionality, helping cities engage residents more inclusively and cost-effectively," said Miguel Gamino, executive vice-president for global cities of Mastercard.

To date, 70 cities have joined the City Possible network.

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