KENYA: Konza Technopolis, a smart city under construction in Machakos

07 06 2022 | 21:42 Benoit-Ivan Wansi

As part of its "Vision 2030" for development, Kenya launched the construction of Konza Technopolis in 2012, a large technology centre located in Machakos County, south of Nairobi. The project, which is on the way to becoming a smart city where the economy and digital technology intersect, has already created 17 000 jobs in the fields of water, energy and waste management.

Data centres, call centres and assembly industries as well as hotels, residential areas, schools and hospitals. These are some of the facilities that will make up the massive Konza Technopolis project being implemented by the Kenyan authorities in Machakos County, located 64 km from the capital Nairobi and populated by 170,000 people.

The site, led by New York-based HR&A Advisors, will also include a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls and a university campus with a focus on digital technology. All of which will give the project’s eponymous locality the look of a smart city on 2,000 hectares.

With roads, water, electricity and a solid waste management system already operational, construction work is 80% complete, according to the chairman of the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KOTDA). “We are already hosting the national data centre in Konza, which allows the public and private sectors to easily operate their electronic platforms, websites and other IT-related software while reducing the total cost of ownership,” explains John Tanui.

Sustainability for economic development ?

The construction of the Konza Smart City is being financed to the tune of 1.2 billion Kenyan shillings (about $10.2 million) by the World Bank, through its subsidiary the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The overall cost of the project is estimated at 595 billion Kenyan shillings, or over $5 billion. This investment is in line with the national development plan called “Kenya Vision 2030” adopted by the Kenyan government in 2008 with a view to strengthening the resilience and sustainability of counties in the face of climate change. In this sense, the authorities hope that Konza Technopolis will complement 2% of the gross domestic product (GDP), or USD 2 billion per year.

Meanwhile, Kenya is building another sustainable city in Kakamega County.  The newly planned Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC) is home to 4,800 eco-friendly residences, a 5,000-bed referral hospital and other social infrastructure powered by green energy sources including hundreds of solar street lights and a power plant capable of producing 144 MW by incinerating household waste.