KONZA: The failed promise of Kenya’s smart city

Greetings Listers,

The Konza Secretariat (konza.go.ke/) has extended an invitation for
the KICTANET community to the Konza Technopolis site on 25th June 2021.

Transport will be provided to and from Nairobi CBD. Those who wish to use
their own transport are also welcomed.

Departure: Kencom, Nairobi CBD, opposition Hilton hotel
Departure Time: 6.45am.

Those who are interested can reply to this email or write to

This is a great opportunity to experience the depths of what is happening
at Konza Technopolis first hand.

Best regards
Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya

On Thu, 3 Jun 2021 at 11:37, Benson Muite via KICTANet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

> On 6/2/21 7:54 PM, Mwendwa Kivuva via KICTANet wrote:
> > Muraya, has hit the nail on the head.
> >
> > There are several things we will always skirt around …
> > 1. Financial propriety. If we put all the funds that have already gone
> > into Konza in a basket, can we distribute them in a transparent manner
> > to show value? That is why IEA put the value of each job created at
> > Konza at $32,000. Hot topic and very emotive.
> > 2. Talent sourcing for the secretariat. Is it at par with the vision
> city?
> >
> >
> > Finally, what has March 2020 to now (COVID-19) taught us about the gig
> > economy? That brick and motor …
> >
> > A good part of Konza\’s vision can be realized without the edifice
> complex.
> Certainly, remote work is possible in a number of industries, so the
> demand for office space concentrated in high rise buildings will
> decline. Nevertheless, manufacturing still requires factories. Many
> people living in urban environments in Kenya will want/need \”a flush
> toilet\” and \”internet/TV\”, so there is still demand for construction and
> infrastructure, though perhaps this can now be achieved more
> efficiently, equitably and in a wider set of locations.
> > ______________________
> > Mwendwa Kivuva, Nairobi, Kenya
> > www.linkedin.com/in/mwendwa-kivuva
> > <www.linkedin.com/in/mwendwa-kivuva>
> >
> >
> >> Thanks for sharing.
> >>
> >> Listers, even the best-laid plans can miss their targets. I\’d
> >> rather we discuss:-
> >>
> >> 1. What went wrong.
> >> 2. What are the lessons to be learned.
> >> 3. Can the project get back on track?
> >> 4. Has it gone wrong? How long does it take to build a new city?
> >>
> This is certainly good. There seems to be significantly more activity
> planning and launching, than serious actionable reviews and post-mortems
> to aid in preventing the same errors. Experiments to try new things that
> can lead to improvements should certainly be encouraged, and when they
> succeed replicated elsewhere.
> Regarding point 2, a study by John Kuria on tax incentives in EPZs
> suggests that productivity in Kenya is not high enough for many
> companies to remain in Kenya after the tax holiday is complete (likely
> since production costs are often lower elsewhere and local demand may be
> low):
> erepo.usiu.ac.ke/handle/11732/3650?show=full
> Another study by Joseph Kosure indicates that having similar industries
> in a location such as an EPZ helps improve efficiency:
> erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/bitstream/handle/11295/93531/Kosure_Perceived%20value%20of%20investment%20promotion%20incentives.pdf?sequence=3
> Finally, the older study by Njue Chabari
> erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/bitstream/handle/11295/19170/Chabari%20_The%20Role%20Of%20Export%20Processing%20Zones%20In%20Kenyaan%20Assessment..pdf;sequence=3
> indicates some of the problems in obtaining information in Kenya about
> EPZ\’s 20 years ago. Some of the recommendations made in this study seem
> not to have yet been implemented. The study is interesting because it
> examines conditions of people working in EPZs, discussing problems such
> as housing, wages, attitudes to employers, training, etc. Of interest is
> how mechanization reduces need for labor in some industries, a trend
> that will only accelerate with improvements in robotics and artificial
> intelligence. This study was done 7 years after the establishment of
> EPZs – as such it is a progress report, but contains many insights that
> are still relevant today. Maybe something like this is needed for Konza
> and other related efforts?
> Regarding point 4, \”深圳速度\” ( for more information see
> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenzhen_speed and
> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_is_Money,_Efficiency_is_Life) or
> \”Haraka haraka haina baraka\” , maybe we can learn from each other.
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