KONZA: The failed promise of Kenya’s smart city

Ali,

While the investment is good & welcome, I still think we are way off what I
can call *explosion*, building solid, high value technology products. We
are not deliberate enough to build such an ecosystem. The current
investments we are seeing, I would give credit more to an awakening in
Western countries of .KEs & other African nations’ nascent potential and a
lot of ‘free’ money in the current global financial system.

All this though is happening despite Konza, so you would have to ask,
what’s the point really of Konza, what value does it add to the
‘innovation’ ecosystem that would have otherwise been absent to justify the
humongous investment from GoK ?

Perhaps its time we approached our brother from down South about building a
launch site smack right in the middle of the Equator or a Gigafactory! Such
things! Gamechangers!

That should be Konza… 🙂

On Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 3:36 PM Ali Hussein <ali@hussein.me.ke> wrote:

> Ngigi
>
> Cant argue with your thought process. Just a small correction however. The
> explosion you have mentioned is happening right before our eyes. Despite
> Konza not being completed. In the last couple of years VC Investment in
> Kenya has surpassed the billion dollar mark.
>
> Talk of Vitu Kwa Ground….
>
> *Ali Hussein*
> *Digital Transformation *
>
> +254 0713 601113
>
> Twitter: @AliHKassim
>
> Skype: abu-jomo
>
> LinkedIn: ke.linkedin.com/in/alihkassim
>
> “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a
> habit.” ~ Aristotle
>
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> On 2 Jun 2021, at 2:36 PM, Ngigi Waithaka <ngigi@at.co.ke> wrote:
>
> 
> Ali,
>
> Our biggest problem is that we start our projects backwards…. The cart
> before the horse mantra!
>
> When we travel and we see a solid city and/or area such as Shenzen,
> Silicon Valley et.al, we quickly come back and want to build a
> similar city *without* first asking the hard questions; such as what
> *actually led* to the rise of those cities and regions? We just want to
> build new cities!
>
> I once heard from a ‘higher up’ that once we build the walls & buildings
> at Konza and firms relocate there, we will see collaboration and explosion
> of Kenya inventions as we haven’t seen before! I asked them to get a map of
> Nairobi and put a compass at the center, draw a 30KM radius and just about
> most higher education institutions & tech firms would be there and yet we
> don’t see that ‘explosion’.
>
> And I highly doubt we’d see it by moving to a veritable desert.
>
> IMO, disband Konza Technolopolis / Parastatal, it’s currently eating
> Billions that could have much better use in our tech ecosystem etc . Give
> Konza land to some campus(es), give them 30-50 years (Yes, that much time)
> to build up and attract solid talent. Once we have that ecosystem, use
> reserved areas around it for expansion into tech hubs…
>
> In the meantime, concentrate on building tech hubs & tech ecosystems & GoK
> funded investments around Nairobi, that’s where the current ecosystem
> currently is…
>
> Regards
>
> On Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 7:35 AM Ali Hussein via KICTANet <
> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>
>> GG
>>
>> 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?
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> *Ali Hussein*
>>
>> Digital Transformation
>>
>>
>> Tel: +254 713 601113
>>
>> Twitter: @AliHKassim
>>
>> Skype: abu-jomo
>>
>> LinkedIn: ke.linkedin.com/in/alihkassim
>> <ke.linkedin.com/in/alihkassim>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Any information of a personal nature expressed in this email are purely
>> mine and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the
>> organizations that I work with.
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Jun 1, 2021 at 7:32 PM Grace Githaiga via KICTANet <
>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> Listers
>>> This may be of interest to some here.
>>> Rgds
>>> Grace
>>>
>>> Kenya was one of the earliest countries to outsource its dreaming to
>>> McKinsey. The entire Vision 2030 strategy was developed by the Kenyan
>>> government in conjunction with McKinsey & Company, with Konza being one of
>>> many techno-utopian urban renewal projects the firm was involved in. At
>>> first, most were undertaken in Asia, then, in the 2000s, the focus shifted
>>> to African countries, which were seen as growth markets for big tech and
>>> financial corporations.
>>>
>>> …the McKinseyfication of government and federal services often means
>>> that the mere production of paperwork counts as progress. …The
>>> question then becomes, Who is responsible for the failure of Konza?”
>>>
>>> Read on:
>>> restofworld.org/2021/the-failed-promise-of-kenyas-smart-city/
>>> —
>>>
>>> Grace Githaiga
>>> KICTANet Convenor
>>>
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>> KICTANet is a multi-stakeholder Think Tank for people and institutions
>> interested and involved in ICT policy and regulation. KICTANet is a
>> catalyst for reform in the Information and Communication Technology sector.
>> Its work is guided by four pillars of Policy Advocacy, Capacity Building,
>> Research, and Stakeholder Engagement.
>>
>> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
>> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
>> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
>> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
>>
>> KICTANet – The Power of Communities, is Kenya’s premier ICT policy
>> engagement platform.
>>
>
>
> —
> *Regards,*
>
> *Wait**haka Ngigi*
> Chief Executive Officer | Alliance Technologies | MCK Nairobi Synod
> Building
> T +254 20 525 0750 |Office Mobile: +254 716 201061 | M +254 737 811 000
> www.at.co.ke
>
>

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