Kenya begins construction of ‘silicon’ city Konza
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Kenya’s president has launched a $14.5bn (£9.1bn) project to build a new city intended to be an IT business hub and dubbed “Africa’s Silicon Savannah”.
It will take 20 years to build Konza Technology City about 60km (37 miles) from the capital, Nairobi.
It is hoped that more than 20,000 IT jobs will be created in Konza by 2015, and more than 200,000 jobs by 2030.
Despite Kenya’s usually divisive politics, the project has the backing of all political parties.
Konza is part of the government’s ambitious Vision 2030 initiative to improve much-neglected infrastructure over the next 18 years.
Correspondents say the government also wants to take advantage of the growing number of software developers in the East African nation.
“It is expected to spur massive trade and investment as well as create thousands of employment opportunities for young Kenyans in the ICT [information communications technology] sector,” President Mwai Kibaki said at the ceremony to launch the construction, adding it would be a “game-changer” for the country’s development.
He called on domestic and foreign investors to take advantage of Konza’s “tremendous opportunities”.
The 5,000-acre (2,011-hectare) site was a ranch to the south-east of Nairobi on the way to the port city of Mombasa.