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Fresh zoning at Konza park dims land deals

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An artist’s impression of the Malili Konza Technopolis, an ICT hub to be located 60km east of Nairobi. IMAGE COURTESY of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION

An artist’s impression of the Malili Konza Technopolis, an ICT hub to be located 60km east of Nairobi. IMAGE COURTESY of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION 

By Okuttah Mark

Posted  Sunday, February 19   2012 at  19:46
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Investors who had hoped to cash in on the proximity to Kenya’s first ICT Park in Konza to make capital gains will be disappointed as the government moved to bar human settlement within two kilometres of the park.

The promoters of the Sh800 billion-technopolis say that the government will control development for a radius of 10 kilometres and it will establish a park in the two kilometre zone surrounding the technology city to be run by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

This is aimed at preventing the proliferation of informal settlements near the 5,000-acre park set to host Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) ventures, a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and health facilities.

This will be a blow to investors who have been scrambling to buy or sell land near the project that has seen its bidding price rise from Sh200,000 per acre when the government bought the land to the current Sh1.8 million for a quarter an acre.

“The master planning team has proposed that within this area of planning control, the immediate 2km zone should be designated as Greenbelt to be managed by the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS),” read part of environmental impact report guiding the project.

This means that the area will be left for recreation purposes and which the report also says will help create new habitats to compensate for those lost in the development of the ICT park.

Already,  the Ministry of Local Government has written to the town clerk of the municipal council of Mavoko and councils of Machakos and Makueni instructing them to pass by-laws to guide and control development in the area around Konza Technology City.

“The by-laws are to cover an area of a 10km buffer zone around the proposed city to guard against the development of informal settlements on the boundary of the site,” reads part of the report.

Construction of the technopolis is hinged on a model that puts third parties at the centre of its execution with the owners – the government – offering the land, legal backing and architectural plans.

When complete, the city is expected to employ a 200,000-strong workforce in core business activities.

Its development is still at the design stage, with the Ministry of Information marketing it to potential investors. Ground breaking is expected around August as it awaits formation of the Lands Commission.
mokuttah@ke.nationmedia.com