So, in conclusion, Konza is dead??
I can only see suggestions, but nobody is answering the question.
On Fri, 4 Jan 2019 at 14:47, Patrick A. M. Maina via kictanet <
> Thanks Barrack, well noted. Personally I would wish for Konza to
> succeed… maybe the vision should be broadened initially e.g. pitching it
> as a general SEZ where people can buy low priced duty free goods (like a
> “little dubai”) provided they are locally manufactured.
> Gov could recover the taxes indirectly e.g. through PAYE for the new jobs
> created. Hence a win/win. Price of rent and core services would have to be
> controlled (kept below market) for an initial period – say 10 years b4
> gradually transitioning to “free markets”.
> Incentives that boost regional demand for outputs could be what is
> missing. If business people know they will make money in Konza, they will
> set up.
> The grandiosity would need to be scaled down initially with focus being in
> foot traffic. Why not do the roads then install tents and run a section of
> it as a trading SEZ for existing local manufacturers (anywhere in Kenya) –
> say for an initial 1 year trial and those that want to continue past that
> period would be asked to locate the manufacturing of those products on
> Real incentives minimise risk perceptions making it a no brainier….
> On Friday, January 4, 2019, 12:38:56 PM GMT+3, Barrack Otieno <
> firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Hi Patrick,
> Many thanks for the great points. I totally agree with you. That said all
> is not lost. I attended the launch of Konza by his Excellency President
> Kibaki. The former President in his off the cuff remarks alluded to the
> fact that the project had faced a lot of opposition from the onset by those
> who felt it was a misplaced priority. He actually compared it to those that
> never believed that the country would have free primary education. In his
> opinion Konza was an idea whose time had come. Its unfortunate that the
> change in government came with new priorities. That said, there is still
> hope for Konza, the dual carriageway to Mombasa and the SGR will literally
> bring the City closer to Nairobi thus solving mobility issues. One just
> needs to drive to Machakos to see where Nairobi is expanding to. The
> Government also needs to prioritize the project and fund it just as it has
> done with the SGR. I agree with you that there is need for broader
> stakeholder engagement. The Ministry of Trade and Industry and the relevant
> government arm that deals with Technical and Vocational Education. I would
> have hoped to see visionaries like Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Nyaki Adeya and even
> the former President Mwai Kibaki play an active advisory role on the Konza
> On Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 4:42 PM Patrick A. M. Maina via kictanet <
> email@example.com> wrote:
> The root cause is a lack of proper indigenous MSME representation in the
> boards and committees that come up with these kinds of visions. Currently
> where representation exists, it is skewed either in favor of multinationals
> / bigCorp or to lobbyists beholden to multinationals /bigCorp simply
> because they have networks for (or can buy) access.
> The (flawed) argument in favor of BigCorp is that they represent the big
> employers or large taxpayers – and I’ll explain why its flawed. Big
> companies operate at higher levels of efficiency compared to smaller
> companies (because they can leverage automation for example). This is good
> in the developed world with single-digit unemployment and where where a
> middle-class already exists – but *terrible* in developing countries with
> high levels of poverty and >25% unemployment.
> In developing countries the focus should be on **effectiveness** (not
> efficiency). For example if you want to create jobs, you know the biggest
> employer from a macro perspective is the MSMEs because their low levels of
> operational efficiency forces them to hire more workers for a given
> economic endeavor.
> The gap is exponential such that an economic activity that big corp
> achieves with 10 employees may require 50 startups – each with 2-5
> employees. If you look at it from an activity perspective, the MSME sector
> suddenly becomes a* mega employer *creating jobs at exponential rates
> (greater than 1000% per economic activity!!!). These are the hidden
> insights that don’t get considered at the right platforms when incentives
> are being developed.
> Further, the MSMEs can’t afford armies of specialized tax accountants and
> offshore tax havens. This means that Government can tailor incentives with *tax
> on-boarding* (e.g. via a “*Taxation Sandbox*” for indigenous startups) so
> that as these MSMEs grow, the Government would be able to collect more
> taxes from them (and on a broader – more macro-economically stable scale).
> So MSMEs as a collective also have potential to be come *mega taxpayers. *The
> goal should not be to milk taxes today – but to create a robust group of
> future (3-7 years) taxpayers.
> *Macroeconomic stability *is another benefit inherent in MSMEs. Rather
> than relying on all-or nothing all-eggs-in-one-basket approach that is
> inevitable with big-corp FDI, the government can build entire ecosystems
> across a diverse range of sectors. The benefits of this are innumerable.
> One example is that MSMEs don’t bully/bribe the government bureaucracy for
> unproductive or harmful concessions.
> As elucidated in Kachwanya’s insightful article, the *quality of FDI
> matters*. We shouldn’t market our people as *slave labor.* This could
> have worked in *China *and *India *but that era of cheap is now over (AI
> / Robotics / IoT is quickly making that obsolete). There are technologies
> that can fully automate basic BPO services (e.g. end user support via NL
> AI). A proper strategic policy would take *modern trends* into
> consideration and identify *high-value niches* where Kenya can offer a
> strong global value proposition.
> Another thing Government planners appear to have overlooked is the idea of *FDI
> via acquisition of indigenous startups. *This strategy has been executed
> very well in China and India – which have contextualized their IP and
> industry laws to give an edge to indigenous clones of trending technologies
> (e.g. *Flipkart *in India). Governments all over the world subsidize
> their startups in order to generate *new streams* of *foreign exchange*.
> The other mistake that I see is reliance on *academia / professors* for
> policy guidance… As much as the academia is trying, the reality is that
> these are the same *book-smart academia* that churns out half-baked
> graduates who are out of touch with industry. The local music industry in
> Kenya is now worth several hundred million shillings as an industry (with
> potential for billions) and they don’t have any professors running their
> show. Its the *street-smart practitioners* on the ground who have
> transformed the industry…
> *”It is the shoe wearer who know where the shoe hurts.”*
> So to avoid well meaning initiatives like Konza mutating into unintended
> flops, the government should co-opt *practitioner stakeholders* who
> understand the* real issues* in an industry and who have a desire and *vision
> *of a thriving *ecosystem*. People who can see far ahead – like
> Kachwana… I am totally blown away by how his 2013 article is so *spot on*
> – it’s like he had a crystal ball!
> In business they say the most valuable customer is the one who complains,
> because that’s how you genuinely know where to improve. I believe the same
> applies at *policy *and *strategic projects* level. We want our country
> to get it right so that everyone can succeed. It’s not negativity – its a *desire
> to improve* things at ecosystem level for the benefit of all.
> Thankfully our President is on board with the need for MSME incentives and
> that makes me optimistic that the Country’s vision is evolving in a good
> Happy new year everyone and may you have a prosperous and successful 2019!
> Patrick A. M. Maina.
> On Thursday, January 3, 2019, 3:24:00 PM GMT+3, Mildred Achoch via
> kictanet <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Interesting conversation. Odhiambo Washington, you mentioning that there
> is a white paper about Konza prompted me to search for it online. I came
> across this instead. Written 6 years ago but very pertinent today, I think.
> Mildred Achoch.
> Check out the Rock ‘n’ roll film festival, Kenya TV Channel!
> On Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 3:06 PM Odhiambo Washington via kictanet <
> email@example.com> wrote:
> Errr, Sam Oduor – I have a feeling that there’s a strategy/white paper
> somewhere on this Konza thing that might not be in agreement with your long
> Usually techies are not historians like you seem inclined. Konza was,
> IMHO, supposed to be an ICT hub, not a museum project.
> ICT stuff are supposed to be fully functional within months (not years)
> after the groundwork has been laid down, lest they become obsoleted by
> So far, what’s going on in Konza??
> On Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 14:41 Sam Oduor <firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> Personally I do not think it was a white elephant; great ideas mature over
> the long term -> cant take 10-50 years.
> Rome was not built on a single day – the project needs support from
> techies like us and investors.
> Konza being of National interest should be a phased 10 – 20 – 30 – 40 – 50
> – 60 …. year planned development approach.
> Partly I would blame the land/property rush experienced in Kenya btw 2009
> – 2012 ; guys inflated prices and no one was there to regulate – this might
> have had negative effects some investors planning to go in considering
> investors look at ROI which is key to any investment. I cannot see the math
> of buying land for 50k and selling it at 800k -> this was obviously not
> sustainable; where does such capital come from ? Virtual loans ?
> Konza and many other projects are still very viable in Kenya and I have
> high hopes my only plea is for the Govt to be at the core of things like
> Land, Property and Infrastructure from unjustifiable exploits -> this way
> it will encourage investors to settle creating more Jobs which equates to
> good security, a healthy and sustainable economic growth.
> On Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 2:06 PM Odhiambo Washington via kictanet <
> email@example.com> wrote:
> Hello listers,
> Does anyone know what activities are going on at the famed Konza City or
> it’s one of those big white elephants??
> Brian Gitonga Marete
> a post
> 12 hrs
> It was obvious that Konza City was a con job from the get go.
> Concentrations of industrial excellence do not sprout up suddenly just
> because physical buildings and infrastructure are around. That is not the
> bottleneck, and anyone can provide that. The real battles of realizing
> something like the proposed Konza city are elsewhere.