RC Calls for Completion of Konza Science Institute

Lower Eastern Regional Commissioner, Mr. Evans Achoki has appealed to the contractors working on the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Konza Technopolis to fast track the completion of the signature building.

Achoki who was speaking when he led a team of Regional Development, Implementation and Coordination Committee (RDICC) team on an inspection tour of various development projects in Machakos pointed out that the delayed completion of the administration block was slowing down the uptake of investment projects in the Technopolis.

Achoki noted that KAIST is a very important project for Konza where he expressed concern that the project which was supposed to be launched by the President this month was moving at a very slow phase given that it is still at the foundation stage.

“We want to know the challenges the contractor is facing since we want to see the Technology institute is operational. The city cannot start functioning until the university is up and running” said Achoki.

“We cannot allow this project that has waited for 10 years to fail. Let’s all work together to deliver this project” said Achoki, adding that the RDICC team will be visiting the project in two months’ time to monitor the progress.

Achoki assured of the RDICC support in order to make flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030 come true where he ordered the contractor, BOMI Engineering and Construction Company to give a revised work schedule in addition to completing the process of contract extension in a week’s time.

He called on the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) to contain issues of worker unrest by involving a Labor officer and ensuring that casuals are paid as per the government’s Minimum wages and on a weekly basis.

KoTDA Chief Executive Officer Eng. John Tanui expressed his dissatisfaction with the slow progress of construction of the KAIST Administration block given that it is a very important project in the Technopolis.

Tanui noted that the project which commenced in 2012 has witnessed various systematic issues key among them being the delay in the completion of the feasibility study in 2015 and the procurement of contractors in 2017.

He called on the highest office in South Korea and Kenyan government to work hand in hand to ensure that the Sh13.3 billion project is delivered without any further delays.

“The KAIST project which is being implemented by the Ministry of Education, under Konza Technopolis support is established under special law and will focus on graduates only, for Masters and PhDs mostly on Science Technology and Engineering Mathematics (STEM) courses ” said Tanui.

He pointed out that the institute which occupies 36 acres of land is modeled on KAIST (South Korea) which is ranked among the 10 most innovative universities globally.

Tanui noted that as a result of a booming Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) sector, Konza Technopolis which sits on 5000 acres of land will be a city of the highest class and will offer better, dependable infrastructure in addition to business-friendly government systems.

“Konza will be a world-class Smart City, powered by a thriving and progressive ICT sector, superior reliable infrastructure and business friendly governance, policy and regulatory frameworks” said Tanui adding that the first phase which is approximately 400 acres of land is at 80 percent complete.

The CEO outlined that the Savanna silicone city is run by technology and is determined to move the economy from its dependence on agriculture to knowledge and productivity through technology.

“Konza is a Special Economic Zone that will attract special investments, the city is a science and technology firm, which will enable the country to move to a knowledge economy,” Tanui said.

He stated that the government is setting up the infrastructure to ensure the place is usable, in terms of water, power, roads, and initial buildings referred to as municipal buildings in addition to setting up the National Data Center which is already operational.

“We have an underground solid system, when someone disposes of their waste be it paper, food in the set places, it chooses an automatic vacuum system underground that takes them to one central place, where they can be processed for recycling in four separate areas,” said Tanui.

“We have a sewage system where the water is reclaimed until it meets the World Health Organization water drinking standards .We will pipe it for storage and use it on the flower, trees, flushing toilets and other uses,” said Tanui.

“Most of the utilities are underground, like the underground 2.5 by 2.5 meters tunnel running from the first gate to the other which means you can walk in it, ride a bicycle or a motorbike which makes it easy to provide services,” Said Tanui.

KAIST will comprise 10 research science labs working with specialized local and international researchers in Science, Technology and Engineering and will be an institution of strategic national importance in transforming Kenya into a middle income country by 2030.

It is expected to advance STEM courses in institutions of higher learning in the quest to create a large number of specialists to industrialize the economy through advanced science and technology.

According to the 2022 Konza Technopolis project report, the National Housing Corporation will construct 5000 units in the techno polis where 144 units will be constructed during this first phase.

Konza seeks to host the region’s first smart sports stadium to offer world class sporting experience in tandem with the emerging technologies and opportunities. The smart stadium will enable the technopolis to be the preferred destination for sporting events in the region.

Konza is an operationalized SEZ where enterprises will operate under one license issued by SEZ Authority, further enhancing the ease of doing business. SEZ offers several tax benefits, expatriate staff considerations, one stamp duty exemptions among other fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

The investors will have availability of secured land under phased development where the first phase offers serviced parcels, readily available for lease to potential investors.

The Konza Technopolis comprises various KoTDA projects, government agencies and investor projects like an oncology hospital, solar farm, residential development, office block and schools.

Some of KoTDA projects comprise the Phase one horizontal infrastructure, Konza complex building and the water treatment plant while government agencies projects Comprise KAIST, Smart Human vaccine facility, KETRACO substation, Digital Media City, smart stadium and a Science and Technology park.

Others who attended the inspection tour comprise Machakos County Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha, Lower Eastern Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) Senior Director, Peter Kitheka, PDU lower Eastern Director, Georgina Njoroge, among other regional and county senior government officials.



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