Kenya’s $10 billion Tech City Launched – Silicon Valley of Africa

Kenya’s  $10 billion Silicon Savannah dream has finally become a dream come true true, President Kibaki commissioned the first Technology City in Africa last week before vacating office

The project is expected to transform Kenya into a “Silicon Savannah,” the Silicon Valley of Africa if you will, it is financed through a partnership between the government and the private sector, so far it has attracted a number of foreign investors, with some of them describing it as a real estate project. Konza Techno city is expected to position Kenya as a leading ICT hub in Africa by expanding the country’s technology focused industries.

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The smart city will be built in four five-year phases under a public-private-partnership financing model sitting on 5,000 acres across Makueni and Machakos counties, 60km southeast of the Nairobi,

Before the commissioning of the project, 15 firms and institutions have indicated their interest in the first phase of the project. It is expected that other investors will come on board now that Konza Techno City has been commissioned by President Mwai Kibaki on January 23.

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Management and development of Konza city will be carried out by a New York based HR & A Advisors at a cost of Ksh168 million ($1.9 million), already top technology based companies that include Google, Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of the Black Berry phone, Chinese Huawei Technologies, Korea electronics giant Samsung and Telemac of the US have indicated their interest according to Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo,

Others are Craft Silicon, Telemax Technology Corporation of Taiwan and Shapoorji Pallonji Group from India. Local firms that have expressed their interest include Safaricom, Wananchi Online, Kemri, Kari, the University of Nairobi, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the Nairobi Hospital.

“Konza will become a game-changer in Kenya’s socio-economic development, spurring massive trade and investment across the entire region. It will turn Kenya into an ICT hub for the East African region in the coming years,” President Kibaki told investors at the groundbreaking ceremony at the site.

“This is one project that my government has been dreaming about. The realization of this project will apart from putting Kenya on the world technology map provide employment to our young people,” President Kibaki said

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Phase one of this project will create 18,000 jobs, Konza city when completed is expected to create over 200,000 job opportunities and an enabling environment for research and development as well as education that will encourage innovation and drive business.

Some of the anchor tenants include a large American company that is interested in setting up a data centre as well as a car manufacturer interested in establishing a training centre for its Africa operations, Others include a number of universities that will be setting up their research development and innovation hubs at Konza.

“There will be a lot of exchange and sharing of ideas. Some of the iconic ideas that come out of the universities will now be developed. They’ll move from theory to practice and this will improve teaching and learning,” Dr Catherine Adeya, acting chief executive of KOTDA said.

“If other countries in the region and in Africa can learn something from this and set up their own smart cities, then we’ll have a healthier world,” she said.

What do you think about the Tech city, how do you think it’ll impact development in that region?, let me know what you think

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About the Author

Chuka is the Managing Editor @ TechTalkAfrica.com

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