Konza tech city set for take off

px+1President Kibaki is on Wednesday expected to officially launch the development of Konza Technology City setting the stage for the construction work to begin.

At the event, the president will parade a group of foreign and local investors who will be involved in the first phase of the city to be set up over the next five years.

“We are excited to finally launch this development, though it has come later than we initially expected. This will remove doubts among sceptics who thought Konza was a white elephant. Watch this space in the next five years,” Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said in an interview last week.

He said the project has already captured the interest of many local and international investors who will begin work on the ground soon after ground-breaking.

Communications minister Samuel Poghisio last week appointed board members to the Konza Technopolis Development Authority, the body that will oversee implementation of the Sh850 billion project.

Directors include Mr Haron Nyakundi (a building economist), Ms Emma Miloyo and Mr Reuben Mutiso (both architects), and entrepreneurship expert, Ms Rosemary Maundu. They will serve under Mr John Ngumi, a seasoned banker who was recently appointed to chair the board by the president.

Naming of the board sets the stage for hiring of a chief executive officer and executive team to oversee the project.

Financed through a partnership between the government and the private sector, the tech park is expected to position Kenya as a leading ICT hub in Africa by leveraging and expanding the country’s technology focused industries.

After Wednesday’s ceremony, investors are expected to begin laying foundation for structures while the government will begin developing infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water sources.

“Some of the investors who have expressed interest in the project and are expected to begin works on the ground include, local hospitals, international and local universities both public and private, innovation centres,” chief economist at the Ministry of Information and Communications Gwantai Kirimi said during an investors’ breakfast in Nairobi last week.

According to the ministry, development of access roads and temporary water sources at the site is already underway to cater for the initial stages of the city’s construction.

Investors will enjoy the benefits of a special economic zone which include various tax exemptions and holidays.

The government has already begun the search for the second master delivery partner to support development plans for the city.

In an advert posted on its website, the ministry has called on experts to express interest in supporting the government and the KTDA in planning the first phase of the city.

“The role of the second master delivery partner will be to provide professional services to supplement the capacity of the Konza Technology Development Authority,” the ministry said.-Nation



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