Konza tech city chief says project on course

Tuesday May 16 2017

ICT CS Joe Mucheru, Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) CEO Eng John Tanui (C) and former KoTDA CEO Catherine Adeya-Weya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

ICT CS Joe Mucheru, Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) CEO Eng John Tanui (C) and former KoTDA CEO Catherine Adeya-Weya. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

By STANLEY KIMUGE
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Implementation of the over Sh1.48 trillion Konza Technopolis, which is a Vision 2030 flagship project, is on course, the management says.

According to engineer John Tanui, Konza Technopolis Development Authority chief executive officer, construction of the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) is expected to begin by the end of this year.

“The techno polis project is on course. We have succeeded in getting funding to build that university and the combined funding by Kenya and South Korea is Sh13.6 billion,” he said in Eldoret last week.
Mr Tanui said the initiative is expected to transform the country’s economy and create new jobs.

“We have started the process towards establishment of the first of its kind research centre and issued request of expression for design and consultancy. Between now and end of this year, we will have the final design of university for both physical infrastructure and curriculum,” he said.

Mr Tanui spoke at a workshop in Eldoret Town that brought together universities from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania under Higher Education Partnership Sub-Saharan Programme. It was sponsored by the United Kingdom (UK)-based Royal Academy of Engineering.

So far, the government has laid infrastructure for the initiative touted to be Africa’s Silicon Savannah. The project is expected to pump Sh100 billion into the economy once it kicks off.

On completion, the first phase of the project will see the smart city get fibre-optic links, power stations and sub-stations and a solid waste management system.

The CEO said they have also secured monies for the construction works and awarded contract to an Italian firm to carry out the job.

The work will be done in four phases, each expected to take up to five years, depending on uptake by investors.

Government officials have recently shifted focus to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses in institutions of higher learning in the quest to create a large pool of specialists to industrialise the economy by 2030.

“The innovation component is still a challenge; We have the physical infrastructure. And we must enhance collaboration with universities and industry to support SMEs based on technology and we believe the research Centre will address some of the challenges in our country,”  he said.

“It is critical to have start-ups in universities . . . so that in future we bring up businessmen from universities, so as to address the gap in knowledge economy,” he said.

Last year while launching Konza’s strategic plan, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said phase one of the project will attract 30,000 residents, 7,500 knowledge workers and 16,700 other workers upon completion.