VENTURES AFRICA – Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki launches the Konza Technology City in a ground-breaking ceremony taking place today.
With the launch event completed, the first phase of construction works can begin on site of Africa’s silicon savannah, including infrastructural development of roads, power and water sources, and a sewage treatment plant; while the laying of foundations for buildings to be located in the city can commence.
“Some of the investors who have expressed interest in the project and are expected to begin works on the ground include, local hospitals, international and local universities both public and private, innovation centres,” revealed Gwantai Kirimi of the Ministry of Information and Communications at an investors meeting recently.
To date, 18 local and international companies have committed to launching operations at the Konza site – located near Machakos to the southeast of Nairobi – , the full list to be revealed today.
The government has put in place a number of incentives intended to attract investors to the large-scale technology centrum – which is set to cost up to 850 billion Kenyan Shillings ($9.7 billion) to complete -, including creating a special economic zone providing tax exemptions.
The ground-breaking event has seen substantial delays, originally having been planned for April of last year; but was postponed due to the need to re-plan areas of the park’s layout. Delays were also felt as the legal approval of the project and the registration of the project’s Development Authority was protracted – giving rise to popular doubts as to the viability of the whole project.
“We are excited to finally launch this development, though it has come later than we initially expected. This will remove doubts among sceptics who thought Konza was a white elephant. Watch this space in the next five years,” commented Bitange Ndemo, Information and Communications Permanent Secretary, reports Business Daily.