Kenya’s first smart city, Konza Technopolis, which is set to become a world class technology hub and economic driver is already taking shape attracting a mixture of investors.
Late last year, Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) unveiled the second strategic plan aimed at accelerating implementation of the project in the next three years (2025). The plan launched in September 2021 is expected to push Konza to become an emerging global Technopolis and innovation hub complimenting gains made so far in the infrastructure development and the onboarding of both local and international investors. Already seventy two percent of land available for investment in the Phase 1 (One) of the Konza Technopolis project has been taken up by investors for development.
This represents 106 out of 147 land parcels demarcated for uptake by investors in the Phase 1 (One), which comprises of 1,703 acres of land including wildlife and nature parks. The development of Phase 1(One)’s horizontal infrastructure is set to be completed by the end of 2022. The completion of the works, which entail the construction of streetscapes and drainage works, paves way for the vertical construction works to be undertaken by the private sector.
According to the Eng. John Tanui, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA), the agency mandated with the development of Konza Technopolis, the Authority is now focusing to complete the horizontal infrastructure which entails servicing the land parcels with key amenities.
“For the horizontal infrastructure, we expect within this year to move and reach over 95 percent with the remaining scope of work being the development of verticals among them a police command center, fire station, welcome center, safety shelter for screening vehicles and power distribution station as well as Konza furnished apartments. In 2021, we recorded over 70 percent completion and our focus is to complete this as we accelerate investor’s uptake,” said Eng. Tanui, who was speaking during an investor’s tour at Konza Technopolis. “In respect to investor uptake of the Phase One, we expect that the entire land parcels available will be taken up by June 2022. We are already in discussion with the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to have more land demarcated for manufacturing since the parcels which had been set aside have been fully taken up,” he said.
Phase One of the Konza Technopolis project is designed as a mixed-use community, comprising of commercial, residential, public, and hospitality amenities. Upon completion, the Phase One is expected to attract 30,000 residents, 7,500 knowledge workers and 16,700 other workers. As part of its strategic priorities under the second strategic plan (2021-2025), Konza Technopolis Development Authority is actively engaging both local and international investors. Private sector players are also taking up the offerings of Konza National Data Centre, which is offering cloud computing services to both private and public organisations.
The Konza project is aimed at establishing a smart mixed-use city with a system of innovation that combines the industry, government and academia with a view to contributing towards the growth of knowledge economy in Kenya. The city offers various opportunities to the citizens some of which include office and residential space development, investments on recreational facilities and unlimited opportunities to innovators. According to the vision 2030 blue print, Konza will be a smart city, with an integrated urban information and communication technology network that supports delivery of connected urban services and allows for efficient management of those services on a large scale.
A Kenya Vision 2030 project, the Konza Technopolis will be a world-class smart city, powered by a thriving and progressive ICT sector, superior reliable infrastructure and business friendly governance, policy and regulatory frameworks. By leveraging on the smart city framework, Konza will optimise its services, creating a sustainable city that responds to the needs of residents, workers, and visitors. Among the completed projects on site are the Konza Complex and the Konza National Data Centre. Ongoing initiatives include laying the horizontal infrastructure and construction of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Hilary Mwenda, KYEB
A smart city uses Information and Communication Technology to enhance its livability, workability and sustainability. A smart City is a synthesis of hard infrastructure with the availability of quality knowledge communication and social infrastructure. A smart city collects information about itself through devices, dedicated sensors and existing systems. It communicates that data using networks and analyses it for decision making and action.
In order to be considered a smart city there are a number of core infrastructure and services that are required as part of phase 1. These ensures that Konza is able to carry out the core functions of a smart city. This collection of infrastructure and services are known as the smart city facilities. Together these represent the essential facilities to be built upon to eventually achieve the complete smart city functions envisioned.
While Konza requires the project for her own purposes, the undertaking of Data Center and Smart City facilities project represents an opportunity for resource sharing and revenue generation. There are over 189 government entities (commissions, agencies, authorities etc) and 22 ministries. These government organs can make use cloud back up services, virtual desktop as a service, physical server or space renting, cabinet or rack renting, as well as email services.
Phase 1 is is expected to house at least 30,000 individual residents, these would be a large customer base for connectivity providers who would lease the optical fibre network or portions of it. As the ICT network is intended to be unified, the population also forms a pool that needs mobile connectivity (voice and data) through broadband network leasing. There are currently over 21 telecommunications service providers in Kenya. 1500 business entities of various sizes are expected to be resident in Phase 1. They would also be able to make use of cloud backup services, virtual desktop as service, physical server or space renting, cabinet or rack renting as well as email services
The Konza Technopolis project took up a substantial chunk of the money allocated to the Information and Communication (ICT) Ministry in the 2021/22 financial year. This is in keeping with the trend where the government has been pumping in huge amounts of money to the flagship project of the Kenya Vision 2030 economic blueprint over the last few financial years.