Kenya’s Konza Technopolis braces for 94M Korean funded Science University
By Rolex Owino
Plans to set up Kenya’s Korea funded science & technology centre at the Konza Techno City Development Authority (KoTDA) are in an advanced stage – with the facility expected to commence construction in September.
Konza Chief Executive Officer Eng. John Tanui has said plans are at an advance stage to set up the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST). He observed that tenders for construction of KAIST, modelled on the South Korea’s Institute of Science & Technology – will be awarded in September, and construction to start immediately.
The officer said construction will be completed by 2021, with the first batch of 200 of 600 graduate students starting classes in 2022.
Konza Technopolis is a Vision 2030 project aimed at positioning Kenya, as knowledge-based economy and a preferred Science, Technology and Innovation destination.
The objective of Technopolis is to build a vibrant innovation ecosystem to promote life Science, Engineering and ICT/ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) – that will enhance local innovation, Research and Development, entrepreneurship and a Technology enterprise formation culture.
The Kenyan government and the government of South Korea last year signed a pre-loan agreement for the establishment of KAIST, which will culminate in the eventual signing of a loan agreement with Korea Eximbank – amounting to US$94,697,000.
The establishment of KAIST will enhance the quality of higher learning, while nurturing a technologically advanced population producing creative young talents and leaders. Phase-1 of KAIST will be located on 400 acres of land at Konza Technopolis City, and will generate 17,000 jobs upon completion.
Recently, a team of Kenyan parliamentarians toured the Konza Technopolis city, and were updated on an array of current on-going projects. Amongst the plans is to set up world-class life sciences and biotechnology laboratories, therein.
Other planned operations include the setting-up high Internet connectivity – to facilitate blockchain technologies.
Speaking after he led members of the three committees that toured the establishment – to assess the development progress of the overall project, Mr Joe Mucheru , Kenya’s ICT secretary noted that the committee will provide leadership in ICT infrastructure roll out across the country, which will create employment and ensure the efficient and transparent delivery of services through digital platforms to Kenyans.
Speaking at the same event, Baringo Senator and Chair of Senate ICT Committee, Gideon Moi applauded the ministry’s efforts to create jobs through the Ajira Program. The senator challenged Konza Technopolis to protect wildlife within the area. “This land is on the wildlife corridor. I’m happy to hear you are thinking of the greenery, but you must ensure that there’s a migration corridor for animals. Our children should benefit from technology but must also enjoy the beauty of our wildlife.”
The National Assembly ICT Chair, William Kisang urged the Ministry to urgently set up a National Data Centre. “The Ministry must move with speed and set up a National Data Centre. This lack of a data centre is a big risk for us as a country,” the MP said.
Konza Techno City Project Manager Anne Musyimi has said that the City Headquarters under construction will be completed in September this year. The building, which is estimated to cost Kshs 3 billion – will host office complexes and serve as the administrative headquarters for the Konza Techno City Development Authority (KoTDA).
Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & The Exchange.