Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Kenya rearing to launch an ICT City


An artist's  impression of the the ultra Modern CBD at night
 Welcome to Africa's Silicon Savannah


KENYA IS REARING TO roll-out a technology city. The city, arguably the first of its kind in Africa, will be located just 60Km South west of Nairobi, at Konza in Machakos country. Dubbed the silicon Savannah of Africa, Konza ICT City is a green field project that will be home of Africa's Computerisation drive–something similar to Silicon Valley in the US.

This is why it is called the Silicon Savannah. It will enable Kenya to compete neck on neck with global giants in BPO, KPO and ITOs including India and China.  On the African continent, Kenya will compete with South Africa and Egypt.  Being the first in the East Africa commom Market bloc, the city is likely to be the regional Computerisation hub.



So far, the project is progressing well. The government has already bought 2000 hectares to build the city and lay out plans are in plans are in place. A public youth training institute, the national youth service, is on the ground developing basic infrastructure such as roads, water boreholes and such similar infrastructure.  The government is now head hunting for a master planner to oversee the renting of facilities in the city.

 Konza Technology city is a flagship project of vision 2030, Kenya’s blue print for long term development. The Kenya Vision 2030 aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrialising, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment.

An Artist's impression of the BPO/KPO Park
The vision is anchored on three pillars: economic, Political and Social. The three pillars are in turn anchored on the foundations of macroeconomic stability; infrastructural development; Science, Technology and Innovation (STI); among others.

This is how Konza Technology City fits in. The US$10 billion city comprise of a Central Business District, and BPO Park, a university, other schools; and a financial district. Other social amenities include a recreation facilities, shopping Malls, Restaurants and Hospitals. The city will also boast of housing estates of various densities. At the end of the phased development 20 years down the road, Konza City will host some 200,000 people

The ICT Park is allocated 1.4 million square Meters of land reflecting the importance the government attaches to technology development. It will be flanked by a Science Park 226,000M2. The Central Business District which shall comprise of mixed use commercial blocs including Shopping malls and Restaurants is allocated 669,000M2 of land. The city is expected to contain 37,000 homes for its 300,000 citizens. Zoned in four clusters ranging from very high density to low density dwellings the residential zone’s area is 3.6 million M2.

The technology university is allocated 51,000M2 while schools, and other social amenities including recreational areas, play grounds and worship areas take  some 920 ha within the residential areas.

The government will lease the land to investors at subsidized prices in order to keep the capital outlay low. In addition the government will also build a 50 KM high speed Railway Line linking Konza City to the International airport at Nairobi. This means that the rest of infrastructure in the city will be developed by the private sector through a string of financial models including PPP and leasehold.

The City to be developed in two phases up to 2032,will when fully operational, generate US$5.4 billion in revenue, says an Economic assessment of the city seen by this publication. However, the report still indicates that these figures are conservative.  The implication is that the city could generate more revenue than states now. It is expected that by the end of the first phase in 2015, the city will be generating $244 million a year from ICT related activities only, and employ some 8000 people.  The first phase will cost a whopping US$3 billion.

The second phase will build on the success of the second phase which will cost the Lion’s share will include the Financial district and the final phase of public utilities such as Hotels, Schools, Recreational areas .

 For an ICT city, Konza is the ideal site.  It is adjacent to all communications infrastructure that a city needs.  It is adjacent to the main route for long-distance fibre-optic cables between Nairobi and Mombasa making it an ideal placed for high speed, high bandwidth communications.

Within the development itself, a state-of-the-art access network will comprise four exchanges, linked by dual redundant fibre-optic networks, distributing outwards via star-configuration fibre-optic cables. This network will offer a complete modern telecommunications package of high-speed internet, telephony and video services.

Kenya has a rapidly developing mobile telephone market with healthy competition and major investment by the major service providers. By involving the service providers in the development process, they can expand their coverage to suit the needs of the Technology City.
 Apart from ICT infrastructure, Konza is adjacent to the main Mombasa Nairobi Highway and also the main Mombasa Kampala railway line. It is a mere 50 minutes or less from JKI Airport in Nairobi. The Airport is also being expanded to accommodate increasing passenger numbers.
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3 comments:

  1. Its a good place for kenya to start hoping that the right steps are taken to prevent it from becoming another white elephant in the making. Any idea on where small investors can begin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for inquiry.
      This project is spearheaded by the Ministry of Information in Kenya. In the last 10yrs or so, the word white elephant has vanished from Kenyan vocabulary.
      As for contacts you can start here. Kirimi Guantai, Chief Economist Ministry of information cell: +254 722 31 46 42
      Have a nice day

      Delete
  2. I wish I could stay there on that time.
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    ReplyDelete