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Konza City to take up Sh18b of ICT budget

NEWS
By Macharia Kamau | May 7th 2021
Ongoing construction at Konza City (PHOTO: FILE)

The Konza Technopolis project will take up a substantial chunk of the money allocated to the Information and Communication (ICT) Ministry, according to budget estimates for the upcoming financial year.

This is in keeping with the trend where the government has been pumping in huge amounts of money to the flagship project of the Kenya Vision 2030 economic blueprint over the last few financial years. Touted as “Africa’s Silicon Savannah,” the city is meant to be an IT business hub, sitting on a 5,000-acre site 70 kilometres from Nairobi.

In the upcoming 2021/22 financial year, which kicks in on July 1, the tech city has been allocated Sh17.8 billion for mostly putting in place infrastructure.

This is 77 per cent of the Sh23 billion that the National Treasury has allocated to the ICT Ministry.

The government has in recent years been pumping over Sh10 billion annually into Konza.

The development of the tech city, which was mooted about a decade ago and was expected to put Kenya at the same level as other tech cities in the world, including India’s Bangalore, has, however, been slow to materialise.

According to a breakdown by Treasury on how the funds will be used, Sh12 billion will be used on horizontal infrastructure.

This includes putting in place utilities such as roads, power and water supply. The money will also be spent on building ICT networks, a wastewater reclamation facility as well as public facility buildings such as police and fire stations.

Another Sh5.2 billion will be spent on the Konza Data Centre and smart city facilities. The tech city has also been allocated Sh400 million for the construction of an additional office block as well as Sh200 million for hiring a consultant to develop the second phase of the Konza Technopolis Masterplan.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority (Kotda), which is charged with overseeing the implementation of the grand tech project, recently said it had completed the first phase of the office block that is already in use for administrative work.

The Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), which will be modelled after the Korean KAIST, is also underway. 

The county governments of Machakos, Makueni and Kajiado in April suspended the issuance of new development permits in the area falling within a 10-kilometre radius of Konza for a period of 90 days.

This will enable the three counties to jointly develop a physical and land use development plan.

The move to create a buffer zone around the tech city comes following concerns about some of the developments being put up.

The move, according to a joint statement by the three counties, will guide developers and property owners on acceptable standards.

According to Treasury’s budget documents, other projects by the ICT Ministry over the next financial year include the Digital Literacy Programme.

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