Konza to host $94 million Korea-funded technology university (Kenya)

By Kimani Chege | The Exchange July 20, 2018

Plans to set up Kenya’s Korea funded science and technology centre at the Konza Techno City Development Authority (KoTDA) are in advanced stage with the facility expected to commence in September.

Konza Chief Executive Officer Eng. John Tanui has said, plans are at an advance stage to set up the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He observed that tenders for construction of KAIST, modeled on the South Korea’s Institute of Science and Technology, will be awarded in September and construction to start immediately.

The officer said construction will be completed by 2021, with the first batch of 200 of 600 graduate students starting classes in 2022.

Konza Technopolis is a Vision 2030 project aimed at positioning Kenya, as knowledge based economy and a preferred Science, Technology and Innovation destination.

The objective of Technopolis is to build a vibrant innovation ecosystem to promote life Science, Engineering and ICT/ITES that will enhance local innovation, Research and Development, entrepreneurship and Technology enterprise formation culture.

Kenya government and the government of South Korea last year signed a pre-loan agreement for the establishment of KAIST which will culminate to the eventual signing of a loan agreement with Korea Eximbank, amounting to US$94,697,000.

The establishment of KAIST will enhance the quality of higher learning while nurturing a technologically advanced population producing creative young talents and leaders. Phase I of KAIST will be located on 400 acres of land at Konza Technopolis City, and will generate 17,000 jobs upon completion.

Recently, a team of Kenya parliament toured the Konza technopolis and were updated of different projects already going on in the city in an effort to make it a reality. Among the plans is to set up life science and biotechnology world class laboratories at the centre.

Other planned operations include setting up high internet connection to facilitate blockchain technologies

Speaking after he led members of the three committees to a tour of Konza to assess development progress of the project, Mr Joe Mucheru , Kenya ICT secretary said, the committee will provide leadership in ICT infrastructure roll out across the country that will create employment and ensure efficient and transparent delivery of services through digital platforms to Kenyans.

Speaking at the same event, Baringo Senator and Chair of Senate ICT Committee, Gideon Moi applauded the ministry’s efforts to create jobs through Ajira Program. The senator challenged Konza Technopolis to protect wildlife within the area. “This land is on the wildlife corridor. I’m happy to hear you are thinking of the greenery, but you must ensure that there’s a migration corridor for animals. Our children should benefit from technology but must also enjoy the beauty of our wildlife”

The National Assembly ICT Chair, William Kisang urged the Ministry to urgently set up a National Data center. “The Ministry must move with speed and set up a National Data Center. This lack of a data centre is a big risk for us as a country”, the MP said.

Konza Techno City Project Manager Anne Musyimi has said that the City Headquarters under construction will be completed in September this year. The building estimated to cost Kshs 3 billion will host office complex and serve as the administrative headquarters for the Konza Techno City Development Authority (KoTDA).

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