In 2008, the Government of Kenya approved the creation of Konza Technology City as a flagship Kenya Vision 2030 project. Vision 2030 aims to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. As part of this vision, Konza will be a sustainable, world class technology hub and major economic driver for Kenya. Konza was initially conceived to capture the growing global Business Processing Outsourcing and Information Technology Enabled Services (BPO/ITES) sectors in Kenya. BPO/ITES business produced US$110 billion in revenues in 2010. Revenues from this industry are expected to increase three-fold to US$300 billion by 2015. Africa attracts about 1% of the total revenues accruing from this growing industry. Only a few African countries, including South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana and Mauritius, have made an effort to develop their BPO/ITES industries. Given the robust tech industry already in Nairobi, Kenya has a unique opportunity to capture a sizable amount of the growing global BPO/ITES industry. In 2009, the Government of Kenya hired the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank, to advise on the development and implementation of a world-class technology city, which would grow the BPO/ITES and other technology industries in Kenya.
The Government commissioned feasibility studies that demonstrated the viability of Konza, the focus on BPO/ITES, and its potential contributions to local economic development. The studies conducted include a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment, Legal and Regulatory Due Diligence, and a Demand Assessment. The initial feasibility and concept master plan was prepared by Deloitte and Pell Frischmann, a United Kingdom based consultancy. Pell Frischmann proposed the establishment of Konza, a technology park with world class infrastructure that will be sustainable and have inclusive growth as key drivers.
Konza Techno City
Konza Techno City was allowed by the Parliament Account Committee and endorsed by the Kenyan Government. The project will be built 64 km south of Nairobi on the way to the port city of Mombasa, on 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of land in Makueni County. It is estimated to cost 1.2 trillion Kenyan shillings (approx US$14.5bn). It is marketed as a key driver of Kenya’s national development plan, known as Kenya Vision 2030.
Konza City Location
In 2009, The Konza Technology City project was initiated with the procurement of a 5,000 acre parcel of land at Malili Ranch, 60km south east of Nairobi along Mombasa-Nairobi A109 road. With this, the realization of Africa’s Silicon Savannah officially launched.
Konza City Progress
In 2012, the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology retained a team of consultants led by New York City based HR&A Advisors, Inc. to prepare a detailed business plan and master plan for Phase 1. The Master Development Partner1 (MDP1) team included SHoP Architects, Dalberg, Centre for Urban and Regional Planning, OZ Architecture, and Tetra Tech. The MDP team held extensive interviews with stakeholders, business leaders, potential investors, and led 5 workshops with government officials over nearly a year to develop a comprehensive plan for Konza.
The first phase of Konza City is expected to create over 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. The city will be developed as a public private partnership, in which the Government will take a minimal role, developing the public infrastructure and regulatory guidelines.
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Phase 1A will create the enabling environment and establish the critical mass of jobs, permanent residents, and services required to stimulate future phases of development. The goal of Phase 1A is to catalyse subsequent phases to ensure build out of the full Phase 1. The program will be distributed according to a “stitch” design framework where specialized “bands” are connected by a mixed-use “bar.”
Phase 1A is centered at the life science & technology band of development, west of A109 but with room to grow from the center. The program constructed during this first phase will support 5,000 residents and workers.
It is expected that phase 1A will include168,000 m2 of vertical development focused on commercial and supportive uses. The development will be comprised of mixed-income housing, retail, a hotel, school, clinic, community center, and police station. KoTDA will finance and oversee the build-out of all public infrastructure during this initial stage to enable private investment.
Beyond Phase 1
Long-term, Konza is expected to accommodate 260,000 people. This density will develop as an extension of Phase 1: bands and bars will extend the program across the site and forms swaths of planned programmatic regions. The master plan allows for flexible expansion of neighborhoods and districts and provide a buffer between programs.