Kenya-Korea partnership a boost for Konza

Development Cooperation Office boss Dr Park Chul Ho alongside Josephine Ndambuki (Konza), Eom Ik Hyun (KOTRA), Front Row: Prof Raphael Munavu, John Tanui (PS ICT), Dr Kim Doo (EIPP). [Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

Kenya's innovation and economic growth received a significant boost with the third consecutive launch of the South Korean-funded Economic Innovation Partnership Program (EIPP) at  Konza Technopolis aimed at enhancing innovation and economic growth.

The Konza Technopolis is a key flagship of Kenya’s vision 2030  economic development portfolio.

This year's projects focus on the establishment of a smart farm, an incubation complex and renewable energy in Konza Technopolis.

The projects are expected to continue injecting more jobs for  Kenyans and more so the local communities living around Konza, as well as attract investment from both local and international investors.

The EIPP supports Kenya's Vision 2030 by promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic diversification.

Speaking during the launch of year 3 of EIPP, Principal Secretary State Department for Information Communication Technology (ICT) John Tanui attributed the investments to the “cordial relationship” between the two countries.

 “Kenya and South Korea enjoy a cordial relationship that dates back to independence, from ICT to Industrial Technology, Road Infrastructure to Health, and water projects to Education,” the PS said.

The launch was held on Tuesday, during a ceremony attended by high level officials, among them PS Tanui, Board Chair, Konza Technopolis Development Authority: Prof.Raphael Munavu,  CEO of Konza, Mr. John Paul Okwiri and Mr. Nam Sang Kyoo, the Acting Ambassador , Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Kenya.

 PS Tanui explained that EIPP was being conducted by Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance in collaboration with Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, Nairobi (KOTRA).

 “The last two years of the program have brought enormous benefits to Konza Technopolis,” he said.

 Ag Ambassador Kyoo said Kenya was set to “leap forward as an African silicon valley by establishing a smart city.”

 He expressed optimism that EIPP will bring out “result oriented outcomes.”

 Kenya and South Korea, the Ag Ambassador said, have enjoyed a bilateral relationship for 6 decades, and that is expected to be cemented further by an upcoming visit to the East Asian Country by President William Ruto.

 “The Embassy of the Republic of Korea will spare no effort in supporting Kenya to create this new industrial ecosystem and lead economic growth,” the Korean Ambassador assured.

The projects focus on the establishment of mid and long-term development strategies, improving laws and systems, infrastructure planning and financing plans.

Already, several Korean companies have been listed for the year 3 projects under EIPP  to be in charge of among other things consultation for the establishment of Smart-farm in Konza Smart City as well as an incubation complex.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) board chairperson Prof Raphael Munavu said already 3 projects under EIPP are at an advanced stage.

“Through the EIPP Project, this year, like the other two, we are expecting to engage EIPP experts on best ways to implement the three projects that have been selected,” he said.

The list of successes  at the Konza Technopolis so far according to Prof Munavu includes a 97 percent completion of horizontal infrastructure under Phase 1 and more than 100 local and international investors.

“Together, we can build a future where innovation thrives, prosperity abounds, and our friendship endures,” he said.

He said Korea and Kenya have over the years forged bilateral relationships founded on mutual respect, equality and goodwill.

Part of the benefits from the Kenya-Korean bilateral relationship include seminars and workshops.

The seminars and workshops facilitated through the Korean research teams have been attended by both the technical and leadership teams from the Kenya government.

Out of such similar initiatives, Kenya intends to come up with a replica of Sangham Digital Media City in Korea.

The lessons have further progressed to the project development approval for implementation, through external financing at a cost of $282.9 million.

Konza Technopolis is expected to generate at least Sh2 billion into the national GDP when fully built up, through investments and jobs created by investors.

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