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Time to deliver on Konza city's strategic plan

By The Standard | December 20th 2016

In 2013, President Mwai Kibaki launched the Sh1.48 trillion project to build an IT business hub city dubbed “Africa’s Silicon Savannah”, lifting the mood of the nation.Thanks to Dr Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information at that time, this multi-billion-dollar totem was projected to have the ability to spur massive trade and investment as well as create thousands of jobs.

However, with the change of government, the energy levels in giving updates on the progress of Konza city have waned despite its prime place in the Vision 2030 blueprint. Yesterday’s launch of a five-year strategic plan by Konza Technopolis Development Authority should get this project back on its feet.

It was hoped that more than 20,000 IT jobs would be created in Konza by the end of 2015 and that 200,000 jobs would be available once it is completed. Unlike Nairobi city that developed without a plan, Konza Techno City is expected to be a sustainable, world-class technology hub riding on a blend of vibrant businesses, workers, residents, and urban amenities. This makes the dream even more attractive to pursue. It has been likened to pioneer smart techno cities of our time such as Manhattan, Venice, Paris and Beijing Inner City in China.

With Nairobi city overstretched, the dream of a new city where big ideas can be realised, technological advancements nurtured, and both natural and urban ecosystems made to coexist should now be actualised. Such a smart city has the potential to facilitate industrial growth and research. Businesses running on smart technologies will maximize productivity instead of turning to job cuts in an environment that promises to make traffic jam an obsolete thing.

Dreams of many enterprising Kenyans are getting choked up in the informal sector. Like India’s New Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, the city should be able to incubate start-ups and help them grow into big firms. It is time to fast track the construction of this city. Kenyan youth already have education and entrepreneurial minds to tap into endless opportunities that come with a technological city.

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