Construction of Kenya’s $9b ‘Silicon Valley’ to start in October

Saturday August 11 2012

By KENNEDY SENELWA Special Correspondent

Construction of the Ksh800 billion ($9 billion) Konza Technology City on 5,000 acres in Kenya will start in October 2012.

The Silicon Valley inspired project located in Machakos County 60km from Nairobi, will have world-class infrastructure and technology to facilitate education, research and business.

Konza city is expected to create 80,000 new jobs in the first four years through construction of an ICT park, science park, international business centre and residential housing.

“Kenya is among pioneer members of African Trade Insurance Agency which covers the investor against loss of equity due to confiscation or broad political risks, which in the case of Kenya I guarantee will never apply,” said Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka while opening the August 7 Konza City Investors’ Conference in Nairobi.

Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said construction will start in October, noting that the new city is a key part of Kenya’s economic growth outlined by the country’s Vision 2030 development blueprint.

He said Kenya’s goal is to be Africa’s premier ICT hub and Konza City Development Authority (KTDA) has the mandate to regulate the development of the city built specifically for technology firms.

The construction had been slated to start last April, but was postponed to provide more time for development planning.

Africa Development Bank (AfDB) pledged to help Kenya mobilise $10 billion. Donald Kaberuka, the bank’s president, said AfDB will help the Kenyan government source for international investors to finance the project.

“We are interested in working with the Kenyan Government to get foreign direct investors on the Konza project. We are also engaging central bank governors in Africa, alongside finance ministries, to put in place mechanisms for a bond initiative for the continent,” he said.

Konza city is based on a model where the government offers land, legal backing and architectural plans to investors to build business process outsourcing (BPO) ventures and other facilities. The master plan draws on best practice from Britain, Brazil and China.

Konza city is accessible being 50 km from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, 500 km from Mombasa port and four km from the railway line.