24 January 2013

Kenya: First Konza Jobs, Railway Expected in Three Years

The initial structures in Konza Techno City will be in place within the next three years, potential investors and guests attending the ground breaking ceremony were told yesterday

This includes completion of a high speed standard gauge railway connecting the new city to Nairobi CBD and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The rail line construction start in January 2014.

President Kibaki, during the groundbreaking of the city yesterday, announced the World Bank had agreed to fund the railway project which is estimated to cost around $330 million (Sh28 billion).

The other structures expected to be up by 2016 will house an office park, innovation and research hub and universities.

This first phase of the project will cost about Sh255 billion and is expected to start delivering the first portion of the promised 200,000 jobs by 2016.

The first companies to set up will cut across six sectors of the economy namely finance, tourism, light electronic manufacturing, retail and wholesale, value addition and Business Process Outsourcing.

"Initially we had planned to start with only Business Process Outsourcing but we decided to incorporate the development in the whole Vision 2030 plan," said Information PS Bitange Ndemo during the event.

Since August when the marketing of the city to potential investors was started, about 250 companies have put in their applications to invest. Among them, Ndemo said, 15 are willing to start immadiately.

Safaricom, Craft Silicon, Wananchi Group, Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), Kenya Agricultural Research institute (Kari), JKUAT, University of Nairobi,Multi Media University and Nairobi Hospital are among local institutions willing to invest in Konza.

The global firms include Huawei,Samsung, RIM, Danish Technologies among others.

"We are getting multinational real estate firms coming in with interest saying they can finance even the construction," Ndemo said.

Konza City which will be done in four phases through public private partnership and it is estimated cost nearly Sh1 trillion.

According to a report by the first master development planner there are approximately 100 parcels in the phase 1 of the 5000 acre piece of land. The parcels will now be leased to interested investors.

The planner developed a real estate strategy that calls for the infrastructure costs of Phase 1 to be funded by government and private sector building developers to fund most vertical construction.

Construction of a dam to supply water in the Konza has already started.

Kibaki cautioned real estate developers on putting up unplanned structures around the techno park. Konza Technopolis Development Authority has put a 10km buffer zone around the city to prevent mushrooming of slums aroind the area which could devalue the investments.

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