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Konza Technopolis project timeline and latest news

Latest: Konza Technopolis: Construction of KAIST University Gets Underway

The construction of Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) at Konza Technopolis in Machakos County, close to the borders with Makueni and Kajiado Counties has begun.

This came to light when Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, the University Education and Research Principal Secretary visited the site to assess the excavation progress of the proposed postgraduate university that is modeled on the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

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Speaking during Amb. Simon Nabukwesi’s visit, the KAIST project contractor, BOMI Engineering and Construction Consortium which is a specialized construction company in reinforced-concrete construction said that the institution’s signature building will be completed by June 2022 before the planned Presidential groundbreaking.

The first batch of students is expected to be admitted in September this year.

Overview of the KAIST

Developed on a 36 acres piece of land, KAIST will comprise 10 research science labs working with specialized local and international researchers in science, technology, and engineering.

Also Read: 10,000 CBC Classrooms in Kenya to Be Constructed By End Of 2022

The university will develop academic curricula for six initial departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, ICT Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Agricultural Biotechnology, which will be the foundation of engineering research and education in the East African country.

It will also be an institution of strategic national importance as Science, Technology, and Innovation is considered a critical catalyst for fast-tracking modernization and transformation of Kenyan society into a middle-income country by the year 2030.

Expectations for the University

Generally, KAIST is expected to advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses in institutions of higher learning in Kenya in a bid to create a large number of specialists to industrialize the economy of the country by the year 2030 as well as drive economic growth through advanced science and technology.

January 2022 Horizontal Works to be completed for Phase 1 of th Konza Technopolis

Eng. John Tanui, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA), the agency in charge of the development of Konza Technopolis Project in Kenya has announced that the horizontal Infrastructure works of the first phase of the project are expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

These works include; the construction of streetscape and sub-surface utilities; site grading and construction of street pavements; construction of stormwater drainage systems; construction of water supply distribution systems, and wastewater collection and reticulation systems.

Also Read: Agreement for Lessos-Loosuk & Kisumu-Musaga Transmission Lines Project in Kenya

They also include the installation of electrical and ICT networks, construction of wastewater reclamation facilities, construction of water treatment, pumping & storage facilities, and the installation of an electrical power supply system.

This is in addition to the construction of public parks including school playfields, football fields & landscaped areas, and public facilities such as police and fire stations, entrance and security feature, solid waste management facilities, and transit facilities.

“Last year, in 2021, we recorded over 70 percent completion of the horizontal Infrastructure works of the fist phase of the Konza Technopolis Project, and we expect the entire work to be completed within this year,” explained Mr. Tanui, who was speaking during an investor’s tour at the Konza Technopolis.

72% of land in Konza Technopolis Project Phase 1 taken up by investors for development

In his speech, Mr. Tanui also revealed that 72%, or rather 106 out of the 147 parcels of land demarcated for uptake by investors in Konza Technopolis Project Phase 1, which is designed as a mixed-use community, comprising commercial, residential, public, and hospitality amenities, has been taken up for development.

The CEO said that they expect that the entire land parcels available will be taken up by June 2022 and that they are already in discussion with the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to have more land demarcated for manufacturing since the parcels that had been set aside for that purpose have been fully taken up.

Background

Konza (Konza Technopolis ) is a key flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030 economic development portfolio. The city is located 60km from Kenya’s capital Nairobi. When complete, it is expected to be a world-class city, powered by a thriving information, communications and technology (ICT) sector, superior reliable infrastructure and business friendly governance systems.

The city will be home to leading companies in education, life sciences, telecom, and BPO/ITES. Commercial space for these uses will be complemented by diverse residential neighborhoods, hotels, a variety of retail offerings, community facilities, and other public amenities. Konza Technopolis is expected to be a walkable city, one that includes high-quality public spaces, active and varied amenities, and short commute times between destinations. Below is the project’s timeline and all you need to know:

Also Read: Egypt’s new administrative capital project timeline and what you need to know

Timeline
2008

The Government of Kenya approved the creation of Konza Technology City as a flagship Kenya Vision 2030 project. Vision 2030 aims to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030.

2009

The Government hired the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank, to advise on the development and implementation of the project.

The Government also commissioned feasibility studies that demonstrated the viability of Konza, the focus on BPO/ITES, and its potential contributions to local economic development. The studies conducted include a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment, Legal and Regulatory Due Diligence, and a Demand Assessment.

The initial feasibility and concept master plan was prepared by Deloitte and Pell Frischmann, a United Kingdom based consultancy. Pell Frischmann proposed the establishment of Konza, a technology park with world class infrastructure that will be sustainable and have inclusive growth as key drivers.

During the same year, the Konza Technopolis project was initiated with the procurement of a 5,000 acre parcel of land at Malili Ranch, 60km south east of Nairobi along Mombasa-Nairobi A109 road.

2012

The Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology retained a team of consultants led by New York City based HR&A Advisors, Inc. to prepare a detailed business plan and master plan for Phase 1. The Master Development Partner1 (MDP1) team included SHoP Architects, Dalberg, Centre for Urban and Regional Planning, OZ Architecture, and Tetra Tech.

The MDP team held extensive interviews with stakeholders, business leaders, potential investors, and led 5 workshops with government officials over nearly a year to develop a comprehensive plan for Konza.

Phase 1 Master Plan

The first phase of Konza City was estimated to create over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. The city would be developed as a public private partnership, in which the Government will take a minimal role, developing the public infrastructure and regulatory guidelines.

2013

President Mwai Kibaki broke ground for the project in Malili marking the start of the development of Konza Technopolis. The Board of the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) was appointed as a special purpose entity to facilitate the development of Konza Technopolis.

2014

Infrastructure and parcel development guidelines begin.

Tetra Tech Inc will oversee development of phase 1 of Konza city following the signing of a contract between them and Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA).

Colorado-based Tetra Tech was selected as the Master Delivery Partner 2 (MDP2) in the Kenya’s smart city construction project. Other partners in the MDP2 consortium are 11 firms from Netherlands, UAE, US, Germany and five firms hail from Kenya.

According to the Vice President at Tetra Tech Inc Mr. Michael Rothhammer, the company is keen to using its experience in technology to develop infrastructure for the city, which “will drive Kenya’s ambitious economic growth projections.”

The consortium is expected to develop a masterplan-level design of the city. They will also identify and structure financing for sustainable options to the city, as well as deliver a project-to-scale construction management.

Konza city is expected to drive Kenya’s trade and investments, in addition to creating employment for many people in Kenya (20, 000 by 2015). It will entail construction of light assembly manufacturing facilities, call and data centers, BPO and software development facilities, and disaster recovery centers. Located along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, 60km south-east of Nairobi, Konza city project is expected to cost US$14.5bn.

Already, Kenya Power has completed the provision of power to the site to enhance construction of the phase 1 of Konza city. The power would be used to pump water from boreholes to the site to help develop initial infrastructure, greening the city, construction of verticals. A dam, Thwake dam, is being set up as a permanent water solution for the city and is expected to be completed in 2018.

Konza city is a BPO project marketed by the Kenyan government through ICT Board, a board tasked with Information Communication Technology matters in the country.

2014 December

The Deputy President of Kenya, William Ruto on Monday commissioned the first phase of the construction of the multi-billion dollar Konza City. The commissioning of the project comes after the planning of the first phase was successfully completed by Tetra Tech. This mean sthat the project will now kick off.

The first phase of the project involves the construction of access roads that will open up the city to infrastructural investments. The deputy president reassured residents and investors of the Government’s commitment in the realization of the project. He added that more funds will be channeled into the project in the next financial budget.

The US$14.5bn Technopolis is situated a 5,000 acre piece of land 60km from the country’s capital city of Nairobi and is part of the vision 2030 initiative set up by the government.

In the phase, Kenya Power has also commenced installation of initial power that will be used to pump water from the seven boreholes that have already been dug to supply water to the city.

The African Development Bank had also set aside US$100m for the construction of Thwake Dam which will be able to provide reliable water for running operations in the city. The dam will be ready by 2018.

Once operational, the city will be able to attract software developers, university campuses focused on research and technology, hospitals, schools, high speed mass transport system, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) park among other world class amenities. It is also meant to put Kenya on the global spotlight as Africa’s premiere techno hub.

2015

Access and arterial road construction and preliminary earthwork begin.

2016

KETRACO substation & ICTA fiber line completed.

The groundbreaking of the US$ 12m Konza Technology City in Kenya will finally begin in March this year months after stalling allowing the development of the mega project to kick off.

Construction work on Konza technology city in Kenya to begin March
Artist impression of proposed Konza Tech City
Konza Technology City Development Authority (KoTDA) CEO Eng John Tanui confirmed the reports and said that the first phase comprising of 21 parcels of land on 60 acres is ready for investment starting this year.

“We will be doing the groundbreaking of the US$ 12m mixed use facility to host our offices, commercial and residential units in March this year as well as putting up the first schools,” said Eng Tanui. “In addition to this, we are completing the design for the provision of utilities including waste water management, street lighting, water, power and Internet systems to ensure that these are laid out in the right way before construction of the same begins in the next financial year,” he said.

The groundbreaking of Konza Technology City in Kenya will prove wrong the rumors and reports that the project had stalled. The government has also come out to disagree with that information.

“Over the years we have received over 300 expressions of interest but at the end of this month we will know for sure how many of these will actually be putting in work at the park,” explained Mr Tanui.

The winning bidder who will be chosen to construct the school will be announced at the end of this month and construction is anticipated to commence at the beginning of the next financial year.

The Konza city technology project was launched by the former President Mwai Kibaki in 2008 as a Vision 2030 project but has since been mired by skepticism on its viability and timing.

KoTDA is offering up 24 parcels of land to investors in the first phase of the project and will see an initial 60 acres of land put under development.

2016 November

The construction of the second phase of the Korean funded project- Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) at the Konza Techno City is set to commence in the second quarter of 2017; this is according to the Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat.

Julius Muia, Director General Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat confirmed the news and said that they have invested heavily in developing the master plan and critical infrastructure including roads, water and electricity, all of which are now at Konza city.

Also read:Construction of Konza techno city in Kenya boosts Nairobi image

“We want to move as quickly and as timely as possible to ensure that Konza City is a success. We had to get everything right, which is why we have invested heavily in developing the master plan and critical infrastructure including roads, water and electricity, all of which are now at Konza.

These fundamentals have enabled all envisioned development to now take off, with KAIST as the anchor tenant at Konza,” said Julius Muia, Director General Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat.

This initiative comes after the Kenyan and South Korean Governments agreed on the regulatory framework that will see the Asian nation put in approximately US$ 98m so as to set up the public research university at Konza Techno City.

The establishment of the institution in Kenya will enhance the quality of higher learning while nurturing a technologically advanced population hence producing creative young talents and leaders.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority Chief Executive Officer, Engineer John Tonui laid out the progress of other critical support infrastructure that will establish Konza as an ICT hub and the driver of development in Africa.

Konza has already received over 400 expressions of interest from investors interested in setting up base at the Technopolis, some solicited while others have been solicited.

They include seven local universities; The University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Technical University of Kenya, Multimedia University and others.

KAIST is a public research university located in Daedeok Innopolis, Daejeon, South Korea and it is the first and top science and technology research university in Korea which has been the gateway to advanced learning, innovation, and a driving engine for the development of Korea for past four decades.

 

2017

Commitment for Konza Data Center with China Exim bank was signed. Implementation of Phase 1A and Technology/ University Bands begins.

2017 July

Italian firm ICM has won the Konza city roads and sewerage tender; this is Kenya’s first smart city.

The company was selected as the general contractor for the US$ 385m project and their priority will be to design the infrastructure for phase one of the project as well as procurement the necessary material and equipment.

Precisely known as the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Financing (EPCF) contractor, in details, ICM will oversee the building of roads, water and sewerage infrastructure within the 400 acre phase one of Konza City.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KOTDA) chief executive, John Tanui confirmed the reports and said that construction works will commence in July this year.
“Construction starts in July and ICM is required to build horizontal infrastructure as well as all the basic amenities and build a water reclamation plant and a reservoir for the city,” said Mr. Tanui.

The company will also landscape the parks and set up water distribution, sewage collection and treatment facilities.

ICM beat three other companies in the running for the project — Central Electrical International, China CAMC and Zhongmei Gibb.

ICM group of companies was founded in 1922 and has maintained a strong interest in the construction of roads; hydraulic and infrastructural works as well as civil engineering. It also has interests in mining and prefabrication.

The company has done other projects in Kenya including the rehabilitation of Maai Mahiu-Narok road, Webuye – Malaba road and Eldoret-Turbo-Webuye-road.

Konza is an important project for Kenya’s ambition to become East Africa’s technology hub, but whose construction has delayed for years to some extent due to lack of funding.

2018

Major Phase 1 infrastructure construction begins. Parcel Leasing also begins.

2019

First Konza Technopolis building ‘Konza Complex’ is complete.

Konza Complex

2019 February

The government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea towards an establishment of a graduate university at the Konza technology city.

Konza Technopolis Development Agency (KOTDA) invited bids for setting up of the university and the Korean KAIST came out as the successful bidders for the turnkey-based education consultancy.

Samwoo and Sunjin architecture and engineering companies also emerged as successful bidders for the construction of the university. The contracts for the development of the university were signed by KOTDA in November last year.

Also Read:Construction of Ellen Degeneres Campus in Rwanda to commence

Konza University

The project is funded by the Korean Exim Bank at a loan of US $10m. Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) will be the name of the proposed graduate university and it will be modelled on the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Like the Kenyan KAIST, Korean KAIST was founded through a foreign financial support from USAID in 1971, as a loan worth US $6m. This formed the foundation for the transformation of the Korean economy from being agricultural to industrialized economy due the university’s provision of the necessary manpower that was crucial for industrialization.

Transforming Kenya into a middle-income country

The government of Kenya hopes that upon completion, KAIST will have a positive impact towards the attainment of Vision 2030 to transform Kenya into a middle-income country through the promotion of science, technology and innovation for national economic growth. To this end, the medium-term plan is to issue specialized research and training in various cutting-edge engineering and advanced science fields.

The university will be a one of its kind (first advanced science and technology institute) in the nation and it is expected to admit its first batch of 200 graduate students in 36 months’ time.

2019 November

Construction of 400kV Konza-Isinya power line in Kenya has been launched by the project contractors, China Aerospace Construction Group. The project, which is being undertaken in partnership with Kenya’s ministry of energy, is aimed to ensure steady supply of power for Konza City, the proposed smart city located in Machakos.

It involves construction of a 40km transmission line, which will power Konza City as well as Kajiado, Makueni, and Machakos counties. It is being funded by China Exim Bank.

Also Read:Kenya secures funds for Konza, JKIA-James Gichuru expressway projects

Boosting County’s development

Speaking at the launch ceremony, China Aerospace’s Deputy GM Li Naihong, said the firm was working to help Kenya transform Konza into a Silicon Savannah that will contribute tremendously to the country’s technological development. “This project will be completed and put into operation at an early date. It will play an important role in the actualisation of the Big Four agenda and the development of Konza Technopolis,” said Li Naihong.

The Konza Techno City The Konza Techno City is an innovation hub constituting of a technology firms and higher education space. The US $14.5bn Technopolis is situated on a 5,000 acre piece of land 60km from the country’s capital city of Nairobi. The project was launched by the former President Mwai Kibaki in 2008 as a Vision 2030 project.

Once operational, the city will be able to attract software developers, university campuses focused on research and technology, hospitals, schools, high speed mass transport system, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) park among other world class amenities. It is also meant to put Kenya on the global spotlight as Africa’s premiere techno hub.

2020

Phase 1 of the Data Centre was completed and the government commenced plans to roll out services of the National Data Centre. It was expected that Government ministries and other agencies would be the early movers to migrate their data to the centre whose services would also be available for private entities as part of the commercialization plan. The Data Centre attracted interest from both public and private entities.

The Centre would support the Government’s immediate requirements and business enterprises while providing an environment for implementing and piloting initial smart city services for Konza Technopolis.

2021

In July, the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) announced it has discounted part of its land fees in bid to woo investors to the project. ICT Principal Secretary, Jerome Ochieng confirmed the report and said the agency has discounted its standard premium charge for investors paying the premium by December 31st this year and ready to start construction before December 2022.

“Our commitment, as a government is reinforced by our actions and in the recent budget allocation for the year 2021/2022, we as the parent ministry have set aside over 70% of the budget for the development of this project,” said Mr. Ochieng.

Investors who have since made payments for their parcels of land have been given access to spaces. They include the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO), the National Construction Authority (NCA), Sosian Energy, Bigen Global and Vinjay Sandhu. Others are Geonet Technologies, GSI Kenya, Makueni Housing Cooperative and the Parklands Baptist Church.

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Dennis Ayemba
Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

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