Work on Sh596bn Konza City to begin after three-year delay

Artist's impression of Konza Technology City in Malili, Machakos
Artist’s impression of Konza Technology City in Malili, Machakos. PHOTO/COURTESY
Work is finally set to begin on Konza City in Machakos County, three years after the launch of the project, the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) has said.

John Tanui, KoTDA chief executive, said Monday that the authority will in March begin construction of a Sh1.2 billion building that will serve as its headquarters, in a move that will kick off the much awaited project.

KoTDA on Monday signed a contract with the designer of the building that is scheduled to be completed by end of next year.

“We are actually building the facility ourselves,” Mr Tanui said.

Late last year, KoTDA floated an international bid inviting investors to set up a technology university, office blocks and shopping mall among other amenities in the proposed city.

The expression of interest, which closes on January 30, allows investors to make proposals on any other investment of their choice as long as it focuses on innovation, engineering, science and technology.

Prospective investors will be required to show financial and technical capability in setting up and managing similar projects in their fields of expertise. Those selected for the task will be required to start work in April.

The Sh595.8 billion project, which is a key part of Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint, has not made any significant progress since its groundbreaking in January 2013 partly due to land acquisition issues.

Located 50km from Nairobi, the US’ Silicon Valley inspired project involves construction of business centres, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities and residential units capable of hosting local and international corporations on a 5,000-acre parcel of land near Machakos town.

The Konza City, whose master plan borrows on best practice from Brazil, China and Britain, will be carried out in several phases spanning 20 years with the initial phase expected to be completed in five years.

The development is based on a model where the government offers land, legal backing and architectural plans to investors to build business process outsourcing (BPO) ventures and other facilities.

The project is being spearheaded by KoTDA, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the lead project financial adviser and dozens of consultants, including New York-based HR&A Advisors who were in 2012 hired to carry out the initial development of the city.