The Star (Nairobi)

24 January 2013

Kenya: Konza City Is In National Interest

editorial

YESTERDAY President Kibaki presided over the groundbreaking for Konza technology city in the savannah, 60km from Nairobi.

The costs will be enormous. The dual carriageway will need to be extended from Athi River to Konza. Konza will need a high speed railway connection to Nairobi; water and sewerage on a grand scale; fibre optic cable with huge amounts of bandwidth; new universities; and many other government facilities.

The land has been allocated and a world class master plan developed. Fourteen IT companies, including big names like Samsung and Huawei, have expressed interest in moving there.

The big idea is to create a technopolis where young computer talent will be nurtured beside programming and outsourcing employers and entrepreneurs.

India has created several new IT cities that are now driving its software exports. Why can't Kenya and Africa do the same?

Konza will be implemented in three phases over the next 20 years as part of the Vision 2030 project. It is a very ambitious project but the benefits will be enormous if it takes off.

The next government should not dismiss Konza as the final project of a retiring president, but should rank it as a permanent priority project in Kenya's national interest.

Quote of the day: "A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in." - Prussian leader Frederick the Great was born on January 24, 1712

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