OREANDA-NEWS. Hitachi, Ltd. announced its participation in the "Survey on Environmentally-Friendly Urban Development in South Africa" to be conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency ("JICA"). This study will focus on the three major South African cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and eThekwini (Durban), aiming to gather and analyze basic data on social infrastructure in connection with urban development. The outcome will be used to examine the possibilities and areas of Japanese foreign assistance. Hitachi will jointly conduct the data collection and analysis with NIKKEN SEKKEI RESEARCH INSTITUTE ("NSRI") from March through the beginning of July, 2014.

As the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and a member of the G20 and BRICS groups of nations, South Africa's presence has begun to grow beyond the African continent. At the same time, demand for social infrastructure has outstripped supply in South Africa. As a consequence, acute shortages of water, electricity and other necessities provided by such infrastructure have begun to occur.

The three major cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and eThekwini (Durban), have been heavily affected by these shortages and need to develop new sources of water and electricity. As the host country of the COP17 United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2011, and in view of the central government's enactment of policies for countering climate change, South Africa is aiming to develop cities that consume fewer resources and are considerate to the environment. Plans call for reducing energy consumption and recycling and reusing water to make better use of water, electricity and other resources.

The study will start by collecting basic information on the natural environment, socio-economic backdrop, urban planning and investment plans in Johannesburg, Cape Town and eThekwini (Durban), as well as data on electricity, gas, other energy, transportation, waterworks, information technology, communications and other fields of social infrastructure. Hitachi and NSRI will examine this data to analyze the systems that South Africa might conceivably introduce in developing environmentally-friendly cities. Clarifying which systems will be effective in South Africa's urban development will help Japan to conduct its further studies for providing foreign assistance.

Hitachi has a strong track record of participation in numerous Smart City projects and other urban development plans around the world. This study in South Africa will also draw on Hitachi's technology, expertise and experience in social infrastructure.

Through its participation in this study, Hitachi looks forward to helping South Africa with its policies on climate change and energy conservation, and its development of environmentally -friendly cities.

Last fiscal year 2013, Hitachi celebrated the 50th anniversary of its business incubation office in Johannesburg. Since opening the office in 1963, Hitachi has had a presence in South Africa through its Power systems, Information & Telecommunications Systems, Construction Machinery, Power tool and Home appliances businesses. In FY2014 Hitachi intends to increase human resource investment in the incubation office to further expand its Social Innovation Business in the region.