With help from a friend, plans for a new tech hub take shape in Kenya
A Mediterranean metropolis that knows a thing or two about tech hubs is helping to build a 'smart city' in Africa.
A few miles outside Kenya's capital of Nairobi sits a small, quiet city called Konza, population 2,004. Its landscape consists of 5,000 acres of vast desert, barren grasslands and an abandoned train station.
But with a groundbreaking project intending to turn this tiny town into Africa's version of Silicon Valley, that's all about to change, and it's getting some help from a well-versed expert.
The city of Tel Aviv, Israel – which certainly knows its way around the tech startup industry – is helping Konza become a major economic and technological driver for Kenya. Representatives from Kenya have set up meetings with entrepreneurs and developers in Israel, some of whom are directly responsible for Tel Aviv's success as a technological epicenter. Together, the leaders hope to lay out models for the new city, while also fostering lasting relationships between the two countries.
Kenyan leaders say it's all part of a bigger plan to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030.
When completed, Konza will be a smart city; that means it will be built with an integrated urban IT network that will gather data embedded in the environment, including roadways and buildings. The data will then be analyzed and made public so that Konza's residents can access traffic maps, emergency warnings, and water and energy consumption levels.
"The availability of data will enable Konza’s population to participate directly in the operations of the city, practice more sustainable living patterns, and enhance overall inclusiveness," Konza's Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) said in a statement.
The first phase of construction includes the 30,000-square-foot, single-level Konza Techno City Pavilion that will serve as the central information center for the project.
By 2019, Konza's population is expected to rise to 30,000 residents and add 17,000 jobs. By 2030, it is expected to grow to 200,000 residents, with even more jobs sure to follow.
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