The construction of Konza Techno City, Sub-Saharan Africa’s first technopolis, has officially started following a groundbreaking ceremony officiated by President Mwai Kibaki in Machakos town.
The 250-acre first phase of the project is expected to house 1.5 million square meters of office space for a number of firms.
According to President Kibaki, the government expects the project to create at least 200,000 jobs directly.
According to Kenya Private Sector chair Patrick Obath, the city will hasten the expansion of service exports, a segment reported as the fastest growing in the last three years.
He said the private sector will look upon the government agencies to automate as ICT is at the centre of government’s development plan.
Kenya Vision 2030 chairman James Mwangi said Konza will be the largest public private partnership and re-orientate the state of the Kenyan economy as it brands the country.
“Above all Konza will brand the country internationally, transform the national culture, reposition Kenya in the world and reorient the state of the economy,” he said.
Mwangi hopes that the “sprouting up of universities” centred towards technology, such as the Technology University of Kenya which was launched last week, will help provide investors with the necessary human resources.
The president has also announced that other projects to support the completion of the city are in progress, including the provision of water, with four boreholes sunk and the government having set aside KSh16 billion (approximately US$185 million) to put up a dam to supply the city with water.
Other infrastructural works expected to begin in the next 12 months include the two-lane carriage rail from Athi River to Konza and the construction of a dual carriage highway funded by the World Bank.