Aug 24, 2012
$7bn Konza City the latest in a slew of mega-scale Kenyan projectsBack
Engineering|Nairobi|Port|Africa|Consulting|Design|Environment|HR & A|PROJECT|Projects|Resources|Road|Water|Africa|Egypt|Finland|India|Kenya|Mauritius|South Korea|Sudan|Sweden|United States|USD|Building Of BPO/information|Lamu Port|Building|Energy|Energy Efficiency Consulting|Real Estate|Services|Transport|Valley Of Kenya|Bitange Ndemo|Infrastructure|Kalonzo Musyoka|Mugo Kibati|Power|Water|East Africa|South Sudan|Information Technology
© Reuse this
The Nairobi–Thika super highway, a 50 km 12-lane project, seemed far-fetched when the Kenya government contracted three Chinese contractors to construct it five years ago. But its completion has left many Kenyans marvelling from not only its design but also the impact it is having in terms of connecting the country’s capital, Nairobi, with the economically rich eastern part of the country.
Other mega projects have since been unveiled. Two of them, the $24.6-billion Lamu Port–South Sudan–Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project and the $1.2-billion 280 MW geothermal power projects, are the largest infrastructure projects of their kind ever undertaken in Africa.
Despite the enormity of the two projects and the resources required to actualise them, Kenya has not shied away from conceptualising other projects that just a decade ago would have seemed far- fetched.
One such project is the Konza Technology City. Dubbed the Silicon Valley of Kenya or the African Silicon Savannah, the $7- billion project seeks to put Kenya on the global map in as far as developing futuristic cities is concerned.
“Konza Techno City is a strategic opportunity for Kenya to spur the growth of economic activities that fuel higher- value employment generation and growth. This is one of the key Vision 2030 flagship projects,” Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo tells Engineering News in an interview.
He adds that the project aims to trans- form Kenya into a knowledge-based economy that can compete with countries like India, particularly in terms of business process outsourcing (BPOs).
The project is part of East Africa’s leading economy’s push to create special economic zones (SEZs), which will be central in enabling Kenya to attain middle-economy status by 2030.
Earlier this month, Kenya organised an investors conference whose aim was to showcase the investment opportunities in the gigantic project to both foreign and local investors.
The conference came soon after government had awarded the contract to manage and develop the project to US firm HR & A Advisors, an industry- leading real estate, economic develop- ment and energy efficiency consulting firm that shrugged off competition from the likes of AECOM International Devel- opment, of Finland; Sweden’s Sweco International; Dohwa Consulting Engin- eers, of South Korea; and the US’s SHoP Architects.
During the conference, potential investors got a feel of what exactly Konzo Techno City will be. Sitting on a 5 000 acre piece of land some 50 km from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, the city is expected to be a technology and knowledge hub that will also encompass economic activities like finance, commerce, tourism and conferencing, and real estate, besides others.
Konza Techno City will be akin to Egypt’s Smart Village or Mauritius’ Ebene Cyber City.
“This project will be critical in trans- forming Kenya into a knowledge-based economy able to produce high-quality jobs for Kenyans,” says Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board director-general Mugo Kibati.
Already government has secured the land where the project will be built in four phases over the next 18 years.
The first phase involves the building of BPO/information technology-enabled services (BPO/ITES) facilities, commer- cial office space and hotels, residential properties and large-scale shopping malls. There will also be recreation and entertainment venues, a film and media centre, a financial district, a university, a research and convention centre, information and communication technology infrastructure – including fibre-optic networks – transportation infrastructure and a hospital.
Phase 2 to Phase 4 will entail the con- struction of BPO/ ITES parks and commercial and residential buildings, besides others.
“The city is masterplanned as one of the most sought-after international com- mercial investment opportunities,” says Ndemo, adding that ground-breaking is slated to take place before end-year.
To ensure the project is implemented, government has requested the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation to be in charge of the tendering process for the various projects, a move that is intended to foster investor confidence.
“Government is focusing on policies to remove constraints to fast-track eco- nomic growth and create an enabling environment for stronger private-sector participation,” says Kenya VP Kalonzo Musyoka.
The Kenya government also plans to construct a dual-carriage road to link the techno city with Jomo Kenyatta Inter- national Airport as well as a mega dam to supply the city with water.
A public site development authority, the Konza Technopolis Development Authority, is also being established to oversee the planning, infrastructure development and land allocation in areas surrounding the city.
A 10 km buffer zone has been imposed to regulate development and land use around the city. The buffer zone will not only protect the investments envisaged but will also provide for orderly and progressive development of human settlements to promote sustainability.
At least 200 international companies have expressed interest in investing in the project.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other News This Week News
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
In the next 20 years, it was expected that, in Africa, more people would live in cities and towns than in rural areas, United Nations Habitat executive director Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said at the Human Settlements Indaba that took place earlier this month in...
Tough-talking Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has committed government to building 1.5-million low-cost houses over the next five years, telling the Human Settlements Indaba in Johannesburg on Wednesday that the State would achieve this target through the...
Over the past 20 years there has been persistent concern about deindustrialisation in South Africa, as well as the fact that locally produced manufactured products have been increasingly displaced by imports.
Financial agreement for Ghanian independent power producer (IPP) Cenpower Generation Company’s $900-million, 350 MW combined-cycle gas-turbine power plant was finalised earlier this month, paving the way for the project’s construction to begin before 2015 in Tema,...
The revenue implications for South Africa of ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ by corporate taxpayers are firmly in the crosshairs of the Davis Tax Committee (DTC) and Judge Dennis Davis hinted last week that recommendations were being considered to “detect and...