The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced this August 2012 that it will assist the Government of Kenya (GoK) in attracting international investors to inject funds into the Konza Technology City – also dubbed “Africa’s Silicon Savannah,” a US$9.0 billion Vision 2030* Greenfield flagship project which the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) will implement. The original groundbreaking ceremony for the project, initially planned for this past April, was delayed due to the failure to attract significant traction from foreign investors. The project is to be developed at a 5000 acre site at Konza, 60 kilometers south of Nairobi.
This public-private partnership 20-year phased development will contain a Business Process Outsourcing/Information Technology Enabled Services (BPO/ITES) Park that will take up 23 percent of the planned 6 million square meters of the site. The park will contain world class infrastructure and technology to facilitate cluster research, education and business. The BPO/ITES Park will be part of a larger mixed urban development providing a state-of-the-art residential and working environment. A new town will be created around the BPO Park providing residential options and city amenities including hospitals, schools, a university and science park, hotels, parks, city government buildings, and host a proposed Nairobi International Financial Center that will be modeled along other global financial hubs in London, New York, Dubai, and Johannesburg.
According to the AfDB President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the development of the Konza project has the potential of unlocking thousands of jobs in Kenya and the AfDB has engaged the GoK to assist it in attracting foreign direct investors. To this end, AfDB is working with central bank governors in Africa, alongside finance ministries to put in place mechanisms for a bond initiative for the continent, which will allow African governments to source for large infrastructure funding from within the continent. It is hoped that AfDB’s participation in seeking investors will provide the project with the much needed boost, given that AfDB is among the biggest sources of capital for Africa’s major infrastructure projects.
According to the Vision 2030 Secretariat, a Master Plan for the development of the project has been completed and is currently undergoing validation through public participation as required by the law. A public site development authority, the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KTDA), is being established by the GoK to oversee the planning, infrastructure development and land allocation within the site. Due to the scale and complexity of the project, once established, the KTDA will require complementary support in development planning and management services, which the World Bank Group has sought to address via a financing grant to the GoK via MoIC for the recruitment of a Master Delivery Partner (MDP) that was advertised in March 2012 and whose selection is expected to be announced in August 2012.