Kenya’s proposed Smart City signs agreement with UN-Habitat
Nairobi, 11 August 201- The Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA), the body charged with developing Africa’s first ‘Smart City’ has entered into an agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to standardize the development of the Konza Techno City.
The agreement was signed on Thursday at the UN-Habitat headquarters by KoTDA Board Chairman Dr. Reuben Mutiso and Prof.Oyeyinka Oyebanji, Director, UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Africa (RoAF).
Kenya’s Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat Prof. Sam Ongeri, the Ministry of Information Communications and Technology Principal Secretary Eng. Victor Kyalo as well as top government of Kenya and UN-Habitat officials witnessed the ceremony.
Under the partnership, UN-Habitat will serve as KoTDA’s technical advisor on planning and development of housing guidelines. This will include urban and human dimension guidelines, which will be adopted for Konza City’s development process.
Speaking at the occasion, Eng. Kyalo said that the adoption of an international standard in the development of Konza Technocity will form the guiding framework for the planning of other cities across the continent as governments seek to strike a balance between growing urban populations and limited resources.
‘The City guidelines developed in partnership with UN-Habitat will support us in overcoming the challenges currently faced by other cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu.’ Eng. Kyalo said. ‘The guidelines will ensure that we provide an environment that will foster growth through job creation and prosperity, without straining land and other available resources’
The partnership will also see KoTDA staff trained on Goal 11 under the Sustainable Development Goals whose target is to make cities and human settlements safe, resilient and sustainable.
On his part, Prof. Oyebanji said, “ We as UN Habitat are keen on supporting Kenyan Government priorities and this being a major flagship project under Kenya Vision 2030 gives us a good opportunity to contribute to the building a first of its kind IT city in Kenya.
“We look forward to guiding KoTDA to build a sustainable and fully functional city that will make major contributions to the Kenyan Economy,” he added.
Konza City CEO Eng. Tanui said Konza’s Smart City Concept, which is the first if its kind in sub-Saharan Africa seeks to offer better living standards for all people living and working within the techno city by creating provisions for mixed income settlements.
“The support from UN-Habitat sends to investors the signal that planned developments such as Konza Techno City will redefine the work life balance for urban populations in the future.” Eng. Tanui said. “The smart city concept encourages planned development which ensure that populations sustainably live and work within their confines.”
According to UN-Habitat, cities are facing unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. There has been a phenomenal shift towards urbanization, with six out of every 10 people in the world expected to reside in urban areas by the year 2030. Over 90 percent of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In the absence of effective urban planning, the consequences of this rapid urbanization could be dramatic.
The agreement will see Konza City serve as a case study and benchmark for future developments within the African continent.
“Most African cities were unplanned developments that have over time grown driven largely by commercial and economic considerations. As a result, close to 60% of Africa’s urban population lives in slum areas with little or no access to quality housing and social amenities. Smart Cities like Konza can demonstrate that it is possible to offer a better quality of life for the entire urban population,” Prof. Oyebanji said.
KoTDA is also seeking to leverage on UN Habitat’s convening power to enhance relationships with neighbouring counties. This would be geared towards increasing the benefits for all parties involved more so in regard to the 10-kilometer buffer zone around Konza Techno City.
Upon completion, Konza Techno City will host over 230,000 residents living and working within the confines of its bounders. Konza Techno City is a National Flagship project under Vision 2030, Kenya’s economic development blueprint that seeks to catapult the county to middle income status by the year 2030.