Kenya's Konza City Misses October Groundbreaking Deadline
As October ends, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the promised Konza groundbreaking ceremony planned for this month will not be happening.
Indeed, Smart Company can report that work on the park is unlikely to begin this year.
The groundbreaking of Kenya’s Silicon Savanna has been postponed many times over the past two years.
Government officials familiar with the Sh7 billion project have indicated that various factors have conspired to continuously postpone the ceremony.
“Approvals are taking too long,” Information and Communication PS Bitange Ndemo said vaguely, declining to qualify which approvals were holding the project back.
However, he is hopeful that “fingers-crossed”, the groundbreaking will happen in November.
Enquiries by Smart Company revealed that some of the approvals include those by the Ministry of Lands. Construction cannot start until Ardhi House reviews and gives a nod to the city’s planning.
After the approval, the Lands ministry is supposed to publish the plans and give the public a 60-day window to respond with concerns or enquiries. Any points of merit have to be resolved either by the ministry or the judiciary before the process can move forward.
“Our teams have been working day and night to push this project forward. However, this period of public consultation is a legal requirement to give the public an opportunity to air their views before moving forward. We cannot shirk this duty,” said Mr Francis Muchiri from the Lands public communication office.
When Smart Company spoke to Dr Ndemo and Mr Muchiri last week, the notices had not been published. By the time we went to press, there was still no sign of the notice in the local dailies.
Publishing the notice this week will give the officials overseeing the Konza city project a tight schedule.
As of Tuesday, there are 62 days left in the year, including weekends.
If no member of the public raises concerns that have to be addressed through the courts, the government will have two days left to execute a perfect groundbreaking ceremony befitting Africa’s Silicon Savannah.
In addition to planning the city, Lands ministry is also heavily involved in planning the 10-kilometre buffer zone around Konza that is supposed to protect property values by warding off mushrooming of slums.
In June, the ministry published a caveat banning any new property developments on the buffer zone until a plan is published. Mr Muchiri revealed that his ministry is working to develop this plan at the moment.
Konza Techno City is set to be developed in four, five-year phases. The first, which was supposed to start this year, includes constructing Business Process Outsourcing sites, a financial district and a residential zone among others.
The whole project is supposed to be carried out through public-private partnerships and create more than 100,000 jobs in Kenya. It is also expected to boost Kenya’s economy by fanning the nascent technology sector.
Source: Daily Nation