Kenya: construction of the futuristic city Konza Technopolis is delayed [1/2]

2023-09-18 23:05:12

A new city that would combine industries, universities, residential neighborhoods, leisure areas, but also a green and smart city. A technology and innovation hub designed to attract investors. This is the entire ambition of Konza Technopolis. Located about sixty kilometers southeast of Nairobi, on 5,000 acres of land in the middle of a semi-arid zone, the city aims to accommodate 200,000 residents by 2030. Announced since 2012, the project is being piloted by the Kenyan government. But he was late.

From our special correspondent at Konza Technopolis,

« Welcome to Konza Technopolis, the Silicon Savannah of Africa. » Upon entering the city, the ambition is assumed: to place Kenya at the forefront of the tech scene in the region. But behind the gates, the project is just completing the construction of roads and its sanitation network. The seventh floor of the headquarters offers a clear view of expanses of semi-arid plains, where gazelles and ostriches roam, far from the city announced more than ten years ago.

« We took time to work on planning the city, then we had to find financial resources before we could begin work in 2018. We then had to face two challenges. In 2019, we had heavy rains which forced us to pause construction for almost three months. Then there was the Covid-19 pandemic which disrupted the supply chains of certain materials. We have therefore fallen behind schedule, but phase one of the project should be concluded in October “, explains John Paul Okwiri, CEO of Konza Technopolis.

« A city designed for investment »

A data center is already operational and nearly a hundred companies use it. A university of science and technology is also due to open its doors within a year. John Paul Okwiri assures that the project is on track: “ Konza Technopolis is a city designed for investment. The government takes care of the development of basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and internet connection. However, the final development will be done by the private sector. For the first phase of the project, we have selected 147 plots, a little over 100 have already been allocated to investors. We are in discussions with them to launch development. »

Shops, companies in the field of technology and even light industries must come and set up in Konza. A low-cost smartphone assembly plant has already been announced, for example. Kenyan President William Ruto expressed confidence during a visit to the country in early August. “ I am very proud to announce that we have obtained nearly $700 million to launch the second phase of Konza Technopolis. We have made a country-wide decision to move forward in the digital sector. There are certainly risks, but we now have the resources necessary to develop the necessary infrastructure and support Kenya on the technological path. »

According to John Paul Okwiri, optimistic, the first housing units should be ready to welcome residents within a year.

Read alsoWilliam Ruto in Silicon Valley to attract tech investors

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