Work on $5.9bn Kenyan “technopolis” has started

Construction of the first admin building at Konza Technopolis, first announced in January 2013, has begun.

The IT business hub will be built on a grassy plain 60km from the capital, Nairobi. Planners had hoped more than 20,000 IT jobs would be created there by 2015, rising to 200,000 jobs by 2030.

Work on the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) – anchor tenant of Kenya’s long-trailed Konza City "technopolis" – is due to begin next year.

South Korea is to provide $100m in funding for the institute, which will be for postgraduate students, and will be modelled on its own elite science facility, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, local media report.

A number of Kenyan universities will also be investing in KAIST, including the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and the Multimedia and Technical University of Kenya.

The total investment on the first phase of Konza City is estimated at more than $5.9bn, of which the government will invest about 10%, in the development of water and power infrastructure.

John Tanui, the chief executive of the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (pictured), said so far the government had invested $30m.

Speaking at the beginning of November, Mr Tanui said the authority was in the process of procuring a contractor who will come with finance for the construction of a wastewater treatment and recycling facility, bulk water treatment, booster station and storage, fibre optic network, a substation and electricity distribution system, as well as solid waste management.

Site work on the technopolis began at the beginning of November, with the foundations of the eight-storey building that will host the city’s operations centre; a second phase of the building will house a hotel and a conference facility.

Konza City is one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030, Kenya’s national development strategy.

Julius Muia, the delivery secretary for Vision 2030, said: "We want to move as quickly as possible to deliver Konza City. We had to get everything right, which is why we have invested heavily in developing the master plan and critical infrastructure including roads, water and electricity, all of which are now at Konza.

"These fundamentals have enabled all envisioned development to now take off, with KAIST as the anchor tenant."

Work on KAIST is due to be complete in November 2018.

Image: John Tanui inspects the first site works at the technopolis on 2 November (Konza City)

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