Kenya has started realization of its dream of setting up the ‘most modern city in Africa’ through the Konza Techno City project. Envisioned as the Silicon Savannah Technopolis, the Konza city project that is worth $10 billion, intends to transform 5,000 acres of barren land of savannah to a smart technopolis city. This project shall attract a number of investors and propel the region’s economical growth.
Built in four five-year phases the smart city will be under the supervision of Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KOTDA). Contractors will start its work this week itself at a location 60 km southeast of the capital city Nairobi. Even though, it will take at least 18-20 years to complete the proposed techno city in East Africa.
The finance for developing Konza city will be accumulated through the collaboration and partnership of various public and private firms of the country. At the initial phase itself, around 15 firms and institutions have expressed their interest to invest in the project.
KOTDA has categorized investors into three groups.
- Anchor tenants
- Wait and see groups
- Expertise groups without finance backing
Anchor tenants are those who are ready to invest and start construction. Wait and see groups are the ones interested to invest, but confused on whether the results of elections which are proposed to be held on March 4 will have an impact on the project. The third category comprises of individuals interested in investing although they don’t have enough financial backup.
Some of the leading firms that are available for investment in the first phase are the mobile major, Safaricom, Canada’s Research in Motion and China’s Huawei. Also, IBM has set up their first African research lab in the capital city of Nairobi. Other majors who have already rooted with their headquarters in the country are Google, Microsoft and Intel.
Main attractions behind Konza Techno City project
One of the main attractions behind the development of this silicon city is the huge generation of job opportunities. Kenyan government claims that, upon completion of the project, it will generate around 2 lakh job openings for skilled unemployed professionals. After completion of Phase I only, it can produce up to 18,000 jobs.
The city will remain as a main center for business process outsourcing, IT and ITES industries. Call centers, disaster recovery centres, light assembly manufacturing industries, etc will also flourish well in the area.
Rather than replicating other technology parks, Konza city will be equipped with research universities, schools and 35,000 homes, enabling residents to enjoy better amenities as well. Hotels, Hospitals, Entertainment parks, film and media centers, etc are some other attractions which are planned to be integrated within this 500 acres land.
It is hence obvious that Konza Techno City project is a globally significant one designed to transform Kenya as a business hub for information technology and innovation.