• Konza Technology City, Kenya’s Silicon Valley
  • Konza Technology City, Kenya’s Silicon Valley
  • Konza Technology City, Kenya’s Silicon Valley
  • Konza Technology City, Kenya’s Silicon Valley

Konza Technology City, Kenya’s Silicon Valley

On a 2000 hectare site located 60 km from Nairobi, the construction of Technopolis is nearing completion. Entirely managed by the NTICS and environmentally friendly, this building is the showcase of Konza Technology City (KTC). Also known as Silicon Savannah, KTC aims to accelerate Kenya’s entry on the path to development 2.0.

By Dounia Ben Mohamed
 Vidéo by Myriam Sellam

“We are here on the Konza Technology City site called Silicon Savannah. A Smart City where people will live and work”. A new city entirely articulated around new technologies in which will take place start-ups but also universities, services, housing? But if the project is still only a virtual reality, John Tanui, CEO of Konza Technopolis Development Authority, the authority in charge of materializing it, has for mission to promote it and attract investors, especially international leaders in new technologies. And on that day, the CEO and his team led a delegation from Huawai Kenya to visit the site. Precisely the target of the project promoters.

An estimated $400 million project

Initiated in 2008 but started construction in 2013, KCT, the flagship project of Kenya 2030 vision, valued at $400 million, is to be increased to 90% by the private sector. The government is facilitating access to the area, building infrastructure, roads, access to water and electricity, but development must be 90% private,”says Tanui.

In the heart of Konza, a building is already being completed. Technonopolis, both the heart and the showcase of KTC. An 8-storey building, entirely managed by the NTICS and meeting the new international environmental standards, with a restaurant, a car park and dozens of offices. We are in the heart of Konza city,” says Konza city Annah Musyimi, project director. It is a project resolutely oriented towards ecology. We meet all environmental standards.  This helps to combat energy waste.” An architect by profession, Annah Musyimi has realized all the plans of Technopolis. “We run on solar energy. For water, we have set up a system that controls its flow and automatically stops the tap after consumption to avoid wastage. Finally, our carbon emissions are regulated and controlled from a control centre that records our carbon emissions in a database.

A concept developed in partnership with the American company Tetra Tech Incorporation, based in Denver, Colorado. “Her expertise in the construction of smarts cities has been very useful to us,” says Annah Musyimi. But if KTC is inspired by the American Silicon Valley or Songdo in South Korea, it is a pure Kenyan product insures its architect. “We are inspired by these models. But our roots are local, which makes this project unique.” 

Huawai, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft…

Officially launched in January 2013 at an estimated cost of $15 billion, Technopolis is scheduled to be delivered next November. In the meantime, visits are multiplying, and the interest seems real. Huawei wants to contribute to the development of the country and its technology industry,” recalls Joseph Lei Lei of Huawei Technology in Kenya. Konza is destined to become an industrial technology park and Huawei is a telecommunications company specializing in data centers and this type of solutions.” This makes the partnership seem obvious even if no one will want to reveal the amount of the planned investment.

In the meantime, other investments are in the pipeline. Cisco, IBM, Microsoft: “We have started discussions and everyone is very interested in this project” says John Tanui. By the construction of the datacenter, notably in Konza’s plans. 

Target: 2% of GDP and 200,000 jobs by 2030

While Kenya is already recognized as a seedbed for start-ups and the regional digital hub, thanks to initiatives such as the world-renowned I hub or M-Pesa, with KCT the authorities are now targeting further. “Kenya has become a regional leader with good penetration of telecommunications networks. But Konza’s role is to provide excellence. KCT will play an essential role in our economy, according to the Kenya 2030 Vision Plan, bringing added value through technology and

innovation. Some sectors such as agriculture and services are boosted by technology.

Moreover, if Konza City is to contribute 2% of GDP in the coming years according to national ambitions, Konza City must also contribute to the fight against unemployment by creating 200,000 direct jobs by 2030.

Vidéo byr Myriam Sellam
By Dounia Ben Mohamed

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