Huawei to develop Konza Data Centre and Smart City
The Chinese tech giant Huawei has been selected to develop the Konza Data Center and Smart City. The announcement followed President Kenyatta’s visit to China for the Belt and Road Forum. According to the President’s website, www.president.go.ke, the KSh17.5 billion project will involve the establishment of key ICT infrastructure such as the National Cloud Data Center, Smart ICT Network, Smart Traffic Solution, and Government Cloud Service.
Konza Smart city is one of Vision 2030 projects started over a decade ago. The technological zone is meant to facilitate the establishment of high-tech companies that will contribute to Kenya’s economic growth. Statehouse officials estimate that the first phase of the Konza project will result in 17,000 new jobs and add KSh90 billion to the economy.
In addition to the Smart City project, Kenyan government secured funds for the JKIA –James Gichuru expressway in a Public Private Partnership agreement with the China Road and Bridge Corporation. The highway is expected to solve the massive traffic problem on Mombasa road and make it easy for travelers to access the airport. The road link will incorporate underpasses, overpasses and a Bus Rapid Transit system.
Some IT experts have questioned the decision to have Huawei develop the Smart city due to concerns about monitoring by the Chinese government. An article on Newsweek also touched on the matter saying, “Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE are constructing “smart Cities” projects in Pakistan, the Philippines and Kenya, featuring extensive built-in surveillance technology.”