Kenya’s planned multi-billion dollar ICT park, Konza Technology City, has received a major boost from the African Development Bank (AfDB) which has pledged to help the government raise 800 billion shillings ($10 billion) to finance the project.
The ambitious project expected to transform Kenya into the ultimate Silicon Savannah has had trouble attracting foreign investors with some describing it as a mere real estate project.
Dr Donald Kaberuka, the banks group president said AfDB will help the Kenyan government scour for international investors to finance the project which is expected to create thousands of job opportunities.
“We are interested in working with the Kenyan Government to get foreign direct investors on the Konza project. We are also engaging central bank governors in Africa, alongside finance ministries, to put in place mechanisms for a bond initiative for the continent,” said Dr Kaberuka.
Kaberuka said the bond will allow African governments to source for big infrastructure funding from within the continent.
The AfDB’s support will breathe new life into the Konza City project whose planned ground breaking did not take place last April as planned due to lack of investors. Although big technology firms like Microsoft Nokia and IBM have either lauded the project or set base in Nairobi no word is out yet on whether they will be investing in Konza City.
The ICT park which is expected to create 80,000 new jobs in the first four years is a key part of Kenya’s long-term economic growth as outlined in the Vision 2030 development blueprint.
The project is to be established on 5,000 acres in Machakos County, 60km from Nairobi, which will comprise of a technology park, university campus, international business district Science Park, and residential properties.
The Silicon Valley inspired ICT park is bound to open a plethora of opportunities.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo has been championing the project which he say will boost Kenya’s standing as an IT hub in the continent.
“We said, ‘why don’t we do a Silicon Valley here,’ which has all the facilities such that when you get to work you know you would have power, you would have water, you would have electricity. Konza City will be the first smart, green city in Africa.” said Ndemo.
The project will be implemented in two phases and is to be completed in 20 years.