An artist’s rendering shows a concept for the Pavilion area at Konza, Kenya.Pic: Photo Courtesy
Kenya Struggles to Give Life to Futuristic ‘Silicon Savannah’ City
KONZA, KENYA —
Laborers milled around an unfinished eight-story building in an expansive field in Konza dotted with zebra and antelope — the only visible sign of progress in a decade-old plan to make Kenya into Africa’s leading technology hub by 2030.
Grandiose plans, red tape and a lack of funding have left Konza Technopolis — the $14.5 billion new city to be built some 60 km (37 miles) southeast of Nairobi — way behind schedule on its goal of having 20,000 people on site by 2020.
“It has taken too long and I think people have moved on,” said tech entrepreneur Josiah Mugambi, founder of Alba.one, a Nairobi-based software company, who was initially excited by the government’s ambitious project.
Dubbed the Silicon Savannah, Konza aims to become a smart city — using tech to manage water and electricity efficiently and reduce commuting time — and a solution to the rapid, unplanned urbanization which has plagued existing cities.
About 40 percent of Africa’s 1 billion people live in towns and cities and the World Bank predicts the urban population will double over the next 25 years, adding pressure to already stretched infrastructure.READ MORE