The Kenyan government is banking on Universities to jumpstart the development of the planned Konza techno city through the establishment of campuses for teaching, research and development.

Most significantly, the Korean government committed Ksh.10 billion for the establishment of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), which will become the city’s anchor investor.

Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Technology, Mr. Joe Mucheru said several Kenyan and foreign Universitieshave pledged to invest in the planned techno city which is boasting of a Ksh.1.3 billion power line supplying power to the urban centre.

Mr. Mucheru the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Multimedia University, Strathmore University, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Technical University of Kenya and one of the Universities from India as some of the institutions that have expressed their interest in investing at the KonzaTechnopolis.

There are more activities planned for 2017. “KoTDA plans to bring on board design consultants for the Universities with construction expected to begin in 2018. 24 parcels of land that have been set aside for investors ought to be finally allocated in early 2017,” MrMucheru added.

Konza techno city has signed an agreement with Israeli city, Tel Aviv to provide training for start-ups that will be hosted at the hub.

KonzaTechnopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) Chief Executive Officer, Eng. John Tanui, said the agreement will see Kenyan firms sent to Israel for technology training.

Eng. Tanui said, Israel will support KoTDA in building the innovation ecosystem and how to turn start-ups and ideas into viable businesses.Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of KoTDA five-year strategic plan, the CEO said the first phase of Konza infrastructure development will be completed by 2020.

“Kenya is hoping to capitalize on Tel Aviv’s position as a global start-ups hub and Israel’s expansion of the technology sector to drive forward Konza techno city which is bound to accelerate the country’s economic growth,” he said.

The construction of the first phase of the smart city is taking place within a 400 – acre segment within the largest 5,000 acres that the government has set aside for Konza.

The Authority’s Ksh.3 billion complex under construction will house early investors and so far the government has received 66 expressions of interest from businesses that wish to take up space on the initial 24 parcels of land set aside for leasing.

The integration of technology, internet, mobile connectivity, data analysis, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Deep Learning in Konza Smart City and other Kenyan cities is expected to boost manufacturing, industrialization and other new types of services that will push companies to rethink running businesses.

In the current technology driven world, the game changers in innovation are; Machine and Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain Technology, Senior Technologies, Internet of Things, Robotics, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

By Joseph Kipkoech