January 20, 2015

Konza, the silicon savannah

Economy

Kenya is laying out the path for technological development as Konza, the country’s techno city, is officially expected to be ready by 2019. A major investment: $14,5 billions that would put Kenya in a leading position in Africa, a technology hub for tomorrow’s startups. The African continent, Kenya included, is at the starting blocks in the race for development and growth of the next hundred years, something we still find hard to imagine.

Even locally, many are having doubts: Konza is too isolated – 64 km from Nairobi – too far from the capital, there’s the risk it will turn into a cathedral in the desert. Some local entrepreneurs investing in new technologies, such as Chris Asego, founder of multi award winner Eneza Education, explain that today Kenya’s startup ecosystem is located in Nairobi and it would be just mad to spend an incredible amount of money to build a tech city 60 km away.

Others are in favour of the project, such as eMobilis Managing Director Ken Mwenda, who told the Guardian newspaper: “You need to start somewhere and Konza is that somewhere.” According to forecasts, Konza should generate 100,000 jobs by 2020 and reach a turnover of almost 1.6 billion dollars: the ‘Silicon Savannah’ could turn into an extraordinary propeller for growth. All we need to do now is to wait for 2019 to see if the seeds that have been sawn are the right ones.

Economy.

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