Kenya: MPs Approve Trillion Shilling ICT Centre

Computing

The Parliamentary Accounts Committee has endorsed the proposal to set up a technology park at Konza, Eastern Province. This means that the centre, known as Konza Technology City, and intended to be one of the key ICT sites in the country, will be built as planned beginning June.

The centre will be put up on a 64 square-mile stretch covering about 5,000 acres of land. The Ministry of Communication and Nairobi Metropolitan said that all preparations had been finalised. Nairobi Metropolitan Permanent Secretary Philip Sika said his ministry would be launching the project master plan next month.

He said the park will have a more modern plan that will take into consideration possible expansions in future. Poor planning is one of the reasons blamed for congestion in Nairobi and other major towns in Kenya. The centre was proposed last year as one of the key drivers of the achievement of Vision 2030.

The government has already allocated Sh1 billion for the initial stages of the project although the entire initiative is estimated to cost as much as Sh1.2 trillion. A feasibility study has already been conducted and according to Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo, Konza will be the most strategic place for the project.

The government will use the construction to woo organisers of the GSMA annual conference to be hosted in Kenya in 2018. "We are doing everything to ensure that we've put up all facilities for that conference to be held here (Konza)," Dr Ndemo said.

The annual ICT conference is usually hosted in one city for five consecutive years before moving to another and requires massive investment in accommodation facilities as well as communication and transport infrastructure to cater for over 60,000 delegates who attend.

New structures like railways, roads, technology firms and stadia are likely to come up. Dr Ndemo said the government is planning to set up a link road between the Mombasa highway at Konza to Namanga to cut the distance covered by tourists between Amboseli National Park and the proposed hotels that will be built at the city.

Much of the funding will come from the International Finance Corporation. However, private investors were also invited last year to take a share of the project. House team chairman Julius Kones dismissed earlier reports that the local community had rejected the project.