Bizerte: digital technology for a clean and intelligent city

The Bizerte project aims to improve the quality-of-service delivery. This should be measurable through three indicators: cleaner neighbourhoods; a better understanding of citizens’ needs; and a better satisfaction with the delivery of municipal waste services.

By Salaheddine Lemaizi

Bizerte is located in northern Tunisia, on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The city is part of the ASToN programme with a project aimed at integrating digital technology into waste management and disposal. There are two main objectives: to improve service delivery in the waste management sector and to involve residents in the management of public services. The technological solutions being developed will contribute to a better quality of life for city dwellers.

The challenge of urban expansion

Bizerte has a population of 165,000 inhabitants, with rapid urban growth. The number of houses has increased from 35,000 in 2004 to 48,000 in 2014. The city attracts new residents, particularly from large urban centres like the capital Tunis, sixty-five kilometres away. This urban growth causes pressure on municipal services, such as waste management.

The region of Bizerte has important natural and tourist potential: the lakes of Bizerte, Ichkeul and Ghar El Melh; the island of Jalta, with beautiful landscapes and considerable fish stocks; Cap Blanc, the northernmost point in Africa; and the Mejerda River, which flows all year round through vast agricultural lands. Nature conservation and management of urban spaces are priorities for the city and its four districts (La Medina, Ain Meriem, Zarzouna and Hached).

“The municipality of Bizerte is seeking to continuously improve the quality of life of its citizens, specifically in the way it manages waste,” according to city officials. However, this project seems to be hampered by complex realities. There are two main points of concern for the city’s local leaders.

The first concern is the urban sprawl and the recent expansion of the city’s boundaries, particularly into suburban and rural areas. “The surface area of the city has quadrupled, making it more difficult to monitor waste trucks, increasing the number of “blank spots” in service delivery and limiting the level of citizen satisfaction,” according to the Tunisian project team.

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Also read Data For Africa: Open Data Portals Listed And Reviewed and Let’s Talk Data: Lessons Learnt Building Civic Tech Solutions

This article was commissioned by the ASToN Network and Jamlab Africa

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