Korea's smart technologies to boost Kenya's smart city ambitions

Kleos Flooring East Africa Managing Director Maureen Wambui (left) Korea Trade Development Agency (KOTRA) Managing Director Eom Ikhyun and a representative from SJ Chemicals (right). [Gerard Nyele, Standard]

As Kenya gears up to step up its smart city game, Korean firms are seeking entry into the Kenyan market to provide smart technologies that can realize sustainable development in smart city construction projects.

The Korea Trade Development Agency (KOTRA) unveiled the Korean Pavilion at the 2023 BIG 5 Construction Roadshow in Kenya, where fifteen trend-setting companies showcased their innovative solutions, promising to bolster Kenya’s aspirations to become the digital and ICT hub of East Africa.

 “The companies have brought forth technologies that are the building blocks of the smart, sustainable cities of tomorrow,” KOTRA Eom Ikhyun said.

Among the technologies introduced by Korean companies are smart construction supervision systems, energy management systems, traffic safety systems, and water purification systems. These technologies will be applied to Kenya’s KONZA Technopolis, a flagship project that aims to present the superior standards of smart cities across all African regions.

Three Korean companies have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenyan companies to strengthen business ties and cooperation. Korea GT has signed an MoU with SONVAR Chemicals, while POQUTEC has signed with Regal Equipment. SJ Chemical has signed an MoU with two Kenyan Companies Panafrican Business Enterprises (PABE), and Kleos Flooring.

The Korean government has been cooperating with the Kenyan government in digital and ICT since 2008 and is focusing its efforts on developing the Konza Development Authority and Konza Smart City.

“The Korean government is laying the groundwork for Kenya’s Konza Smart City Development project through the Economic Development Experience Sharing Project (KSP) and the Economic Innovation Partnership Program (EIPP), and continues business cooperation by operating a smart city cooperation center. In September, it successfully completed the second phase of the EIPP project,” South Korean Embassy, Ambassador YEO Sungjun said.

In addition, YEO revealed that the Kenya Institute of Science and Technology (Kenya-AIST) so-called ‘Kenya KAIST’ project, which began with EDCF funds from the Export-Import Bank of Korea, is set to be completed in March 2024. The South Korean government plans to accelerate the Konza DMC construction project following the Kenya KAIST project.

Kenya has been ranked 5th in the continent in the IMD Smart City Index 2023 and 131 globally.

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