By Muli wa Kyendo
Newly employed Konza Tech City CEO, John Tanui and his right hand man, Director of Business and ICT, David Mugambi, are possibly the most enthusiastic and creative managers of the city so far. Asked by a TV reporter how they would describe the city to their small kids, they were quick with sentences that would the envy of even the shrewdest of marketing minds.
Describing Konza City
Mugambi described the city as: “the place where dreams will become a reality, a place where Africa’s future will be crafted.”
Kenya, he says, has all the things that are needed to make the city, not only a reality but the leader in technology. The first of the things that Kenya has is an abundance of qualified human resources and the second are enthusiastic researchers. What the city will do, according to Mugambi, is to bring these two resources in one place so that investors, who form the third ingredient of great developments, would access and use them.
“The city will be the place where the basic resources will be available for use by investors,” says Mugambi.
Role of Konza City
The city, being built some 60 kilometers away from Nairobi along Mombasa Road, is the biggest component in the Vision 2030. It is expected to become the most important generator of employment for Kenya’s increasing number of school leavers.
It is also expected to become the engine to move into the league of the world’s most developed economies.
Konza Tech City is being built on a 5,000 acre land that was bought by the Kenya Government from a ranching group in 2008. Construction work was initiated with great pomp by the retired President Mwai Kibaki. But then it went into a limbo and most Kenyans begun to believe that it would soon die off.
Konza Technopolis Development Authority
Indeed, passing by the road to Mombasa, you would still be forgiven to think nothing of importance is happening. From a distance, you can only see an occasional tractor racing in the expansive Kapiti plains. But the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) CEO Eng Tanui has an explanation: Konza City is work of great magnitude. And work of that magnitude requires great care in planning. That is what the Authority been doing. “Now you are starting to see work being done, “he says.
And the work that is currently going on includes laying fiber optic cables, road construction and development of other infrastructure to enable the City to welcome investors. After laying the infrastructure, the government will issue leases to local and international business. It is through this business partnership that the government hopes to build the city.
The city will be built on two phases with the first phase excepted to bring some 20,000 residents.
The first phase will have 24 leases and invitations to business community to take up the leases have already been issued. “The Authority has started signing leases,” says the CEO.
Land will be leased out to investors for a period of 99 years. Interested companies are expected to have strong financial muscle, a well-defined construction plan with timelines to start development by April 2016 and complete it by end of the year.
Investors are also expected to adhere to Konza’s green building requirements as well as have an ICT focused development strategy.
The property, owned by the National Treasury, will be controlled by the KoTDA Bill and partly by the Special Economic Zones Bill. When enacted, the Bills will provide tax incentives for investors developing the parcels of land.
Konza city is the key to transform Kenya’s economy from agricultural to modern, knowledge-based economy, according to Eng Tanui. It will become the hub of innovation where centers of excellence will be put up. The will attract multinational companies and through the partnerships, Kenya will be enabled to have its own multinationals going out to other countries, says Engineer Tanui.
Kenya Techology University?
Great project planned for the near future includes university specializing on technology, possibly to be known as Kenya Technology University, according to Cabinet Secretary for information Dr Fred Matiangi
Dr. Matiangi said the government will assist local investors wanting invest in the city
The KoTDA recently hold a progress briefing meeting with national and international the business community where it announced that it was now ready to welcome investors to the city.
“We already have many local and international inquiries but we have been telling them to wait as we prepare. Now we are ready,” says Eng. Tanui