Money Markets

Konza city launch opens new frontier for investors

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A model of Tatu City. File

A model of Tatu City. File 

By MUNA WAHOME

Posted  Tuesday, January 22  2013 at  21:07

In Summary

  • Mr Kibaki will launch the physical development phase that had been scheduled to have started late last year.
  • The Director-General of Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Mugo Kibati, said investors had responded positively to Konza.
  • Asian investors, especially from China, were mainly interested in construction while their European and American counterparts were more interested in the data processing business.

The Konza ICT City, one of the theme projects expected to make Kenya a newly industrialised economy in 17 years, breaks ground Wednesday with the promoters reporting that they have already attracted investors from around the world.

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The Director-General of Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Mugo Kibati, said investors had responded positively to Konza which many attribute to the buzz created by innovation like Safaricom’s M-Pesa money transfer system on the global stage.

“Very many investors are interested but the ground breaking ceremony and the launching of the master plan will help a lot. We have investors from Asia, Europe and America expressing interest,” said Mr Kibati.

Asian investors, especially from China, were mainly interested in construction while their European and American counterparts were more interested in the data processing business.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority chairman John Ngumi said the ground breaking by President Mwai Kibaki would open the door for the recruitment of an executive team and engagement with presidential candidates who are key to the project’s continuity after the transition.

“We want to invite all the presidential aspirants so that they can see for themselves what we want to achieve in the coming years,” said John Ngumi, a veteran investment banker now with Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Africa, who was tapped to mid-wife the project.

Kenya is gearing for a transition which will see the exit of President Kibaki and probably some of the bureaucrats including Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo and Investment secretary Esther Koimett who have been critical in its initialisation.

Mr Kibaki will launch the physical development phase that had been scheduled to have started late last year.

Besides politicians and other stakeholders, the board is expecting senior executives from the US, Europe and the rest of world at the ceremony.

The phase will be implemented side by side with infrastructure development that is estimated to cost Sh26 billion ($300 million) and which is ongoing at the 5,000-acre land in Konza, 60 kilometres from Nairobi.

It includes setting up of a hospital, a science park and a technology university among other amenities.

Information and Communications minister Samuel Poghisio recently appointed the authority’s board which includes Harold Nyakundi, Rosemary Maundu, Emma Miloyo and Reuben Mutiso, a team which Mr Ngumi said intends to break from a development approach adopted by existing regional bodies.

“The authority must be a lean operation playing the role of a landlord and planner but must develop with the tenants,” said Mr Ngumi. “This is a fundamental shift where the authority is a means to the end of development by users for the users.”

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