Top 5 things to know about Kenya’s new tech city the African Silicon Valley

The country has embraced tech, alongside international partnerships, which has culminated in its success and afforded it the position of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

The country’s new, project, Konza is a combination of the aforementioned strategies. It is a project, birth from its partnership with South Korea.

South Korea has taken a keen interest in East Africa. Just last week, the Asian nation announced a new partnership with Tanzania, promising to share its tech resources with the country. Read the story here.

During the same week, the president of Kenya, William Ruto, toured South Korea on a 3-day visit and met with the Korean president, Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul.

This was the first visit a Kenyan president made to South Korea in 32 years. During his visit the Kenyan president discussed the market potential of his country, and based on the report, the meeting seemed to be a success.

A major topic discussed was Konza, and South Korea’s role in building this city. This showed promise as South Korea committed to involving itself in the project, as a flagship for Kenya’s Vision 2030 plan.

Konza is set to be Kenya’s first-ever truly tech city and is touted to become Africa’s Silicon Valley. Here are five things to know about the recent developments of this project.

Funding: This project has been commissioned as far back as 2008 but was put on hold due to a lack of proper investment. However, last week, President William Ruto secured $1 billion from South Korea, for the commencement of the project, during his visit to the country.

South Korean involvement: It was agreed that the city would be built by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). This means that the city’s technology would be initially managed by Korea before gradually handing it over to Kenya.

Intelligent infrastructure: Aside from building the city, South Korea also pledged to build the Nairobi Intelligent Transport System and Bus Rapid Transit, two of Kenya’s projects which were put on hold until proper funding is available.

Geography: Konza is located 60 kilometers from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and largest city. The A109 highway connects Konza to Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and Mombasa, the primary port of entry to East Africa and Kenya’s second-largest city.

Smart institutions: The city, like every other city, would include all sorts of infrastructure, except, in this case, the infrastructure will be heavily tech-driven. For example, sensors would be embedded in the urban environment, such as roadways, and buildings. There would be direct access to collected data, which may include traffic maps, emergency warnings, and detailed information describing energy and water consumption, and an Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, mimicking the Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology would be built.