Investors to shelve plans over fresh Konza buffer zone ban

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Investors to shelve plans over fresh Konza buffer zone ban


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The data centre at Konza Technopolis in this picture taken on March 29, 2021. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

Summary

  • Machakos, Makueni and Kajiado counties have suspended the issuing of new development permits on land within a 10-kilometre radius around Konza Technopolis for a period of 90 days.

Investors who had hoped to cash in on the proximity to Konza Technopolis have to put off their plans after the three counties that the ICT park straddles announced a ban on development within 10 kilometres surrounding it.

Machakos, Makueni and Kajiado counties have suspended the issuing of new development permits on land within a 10-kilometre radius around Konza Technopolis for a period of 90 days.

In a joint statement, the county governments said the three-month period would allow them to come up with an inter-county physical and land use development plan.

“The plan will provide basic guidelines and standards for regulation of land use practices and general development while controlling activities for the respective counties bordering the technopolis. It will also guide developers and property owners on acceptable standards,” reads the statement released on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached after the three counties’ governors held a meeting with Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i in which they discussed ways to legally protect the area around Konza city by creating a buffer zone aimed at keeping unplanned properties at bay.

Land use

During the meeting that was also attended by ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru, Lands Secretary Farida Karoney said her ministry would complete the buffer zone plan in time so as to allow the resumption of developments by July 1.

The Konza Technopolis, seen as the best proponent of Kenya’s claim to be Africa’s Silicon Savannah, was gazetted as a special economic zone in 2019 by the Trade and Industrialisation ministry for ICTs, business, health and education.

Phase one of the Konza project, which sits on a 410-acres of land, is distributed into mixed use (89 acres), university (39 acres), residential (26 acres) and life science (26 acres).

Others include office space (11 acres), retail (eight acres), cultural community (one acre), parks (79 acres) and transportation and other public space (130 acres).

Land buyers including hospitals, real estate developers, institutions of higher learning, the National Construction Authority (NCA) and the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) have acquired over 160 acres at the technopolis.

Disputes

The development of the technopolis had been delayed over tussles involving the three counties on compliment security operations and division of labour as major developers kicked off construction. The three counties have since agreed on a job sharing ratio.

Already, the Ministry of ICT has set up a national data centre that will act as the digital residence of all government information and data. Government ministries and agencies are expected to be among the first movers of their data to the facility.

Last month, the Ministry of Interior flagged off the construction of an ultra-modern security command centre that consists of a police station, a fire control building, an emergency response unit and officers’ residences that will act as a benchmark to the future of policing in the country and the region.

The technology city plans to complete horizontal infrastructure by February 2022 including the design and construction of roads, parks, subservices, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, an automatic waste collection system, a security centre as well as a transit hub covering 600 acres.

The technology city is expected to create 15,000 jobs and host 30,000 residents.

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