The much-awaited master plan for Kenya’s Konza technology Park is complete and ground breaking is scheduled for September this year.
Unveiling the master plan for phase one of the over $10 billion (Sh800 billion) project on Monday, Ministry of Information PS, Dr Bitange Ndemo, said topographical work is ongoing at the 5,000-acre site at Konza, 60km south of Nairobi.
Dr Ndemo said many investors are already showing interest and ground is set to begin construction.
Phase one will include a science and technology park spearheaded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, a Business Processing and Outsourcing (BPO) park, world class hotels, a stadium and other social amenities typical of a city.
“Some organisations are already showing interest and we want to start but we must finish on the land topography work going on...if this is finished, the president is expected to break the ground next month (September),” said Dr Ndemo.
“A new town will be created around the BPO park providing different options and all required city amenities such as hospitals, schools, a university and science park, hotels, parks, city government buildings, a financial centre and retail and additional office space in a new central business district,” said Dr Ndemo.
Dr Ndemo said development of the park will be driven by the private sector as he called upon interested investors to fully participate.
The BPO park would be home to world class infrastructure and technology to facilitate and cluster research, education and business and create over 200,000 jobs.
Konza technology city is one of Kenya Vision 2030 flagship projects, the country’s blueprint for attaining income income status by the year 2030.
Dr Ndemo said the technopolis has faced numerous hurdles, including encroachment on its land by private developers, since its inception in 2008 "but the way to move forward is now clear."
He said the private sector shall propel the project to avoid interference from politicians.
“With elections coming next year (2012), we want to move the development from government based to the private sector,” argued Dr Ndemo.
"Built on 5,000 acres of what is now ranchland, the Konza technology city will come complete with skyscrappers, hotels, international schools, a world-class hospital, a financial district, a high-speed mass transport system and integrated infrastructure," said Dr Ndemo.
Intense working by International Design Engineers, Pell Frischmann from London resulted in the preparation of a series of Masterplanning options for the ambitious Technology project.
Local ICT Consultants, Summit Strategies Limited, have also prepared preliminary market demand DATA for the BPO sector.
The International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank, commissioned International consultants to look at the master planning of the City, its economic viability and development of detailed development proposal.
An initial land use plan envisions phased development over 20 years with BPO/ITES park taking up 23 pc of the planned 6 million square meters of the site.
A special Economic Zone regime is planned for parts of the site to enhance competitiveness and provide a one stop shop for businesses. The new city will be under Konza Technology City Authority, a new parastatal to be created to ensure continuity of the project and non-interference by politicians.
Kenya intends to use the facility to promote conference tourism and is preparing a bid for the 2018 GSMA World Congress.
The annual meeting brings together 800 of the world’s mobile operators, more than 200 technology companies and about 50,000 IT executives.
Successful execution will make Konza technology city Eastern Africa’s first and only technopolis – a city built specifically for technology firms.
It will host Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) ventures, a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and health facilities.
Similar cities already exist in Malaysia (PutraJaya), Panama (Pacifico), the Philippines (Subic-Clark) and China (Shenzhen).
The new city is part of a wider scheme to position Kenya as the region’s technology hub, using the development to entice more companies to set up base in the country.
Revenue generated from Konza’s ICT activities is expected to hit $244 million annually, according to government estimates.